SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man who was driving under the influence of heroin is scheduled to face trial Tuesday for killing a bicyclist in a hit-and-run crash in Newport Beach. Neil Storm Stephany, 24, Huntington Beach, is charged with one felony count of murder. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 15 years to life in state prison. Opening statements are scheduled to begin Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, at 9:30 a.m. in Department C-37, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
At approximately 5:00 p.m. on Oct 19, 2014, Stephany is accused of driving a Toyota Tacoma pickup truck, while under the influence of heroin, traveling westbound on East Coast Highway in Newport Beach. Near the intersection just east of Los Trancos, Stephany is accused of swerving into the bike lane and drove into the back of 30-year-old bicyclist Shaun Eagleson. The defendant is accused of continuing to drive into the guardrail and leaving the scene without stopping the truck to render aid or assistance to the victim.
Nearby witnesses called 911. Paramedics arrived at the scene and transported Eagleson to Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo where he later died from injuries sustained in the crash. At approximately 5:50 p.m. the Newport Beach Police Department, who investigated this case, arrested the defendant near Newport Center Drive and East Coast Highway.
Prior to the murder, Stephany had signed an advisement for his prior DUI plea in 2011 which stated that he could be charged with murder if he killed someone while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Walker of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.
*Defendant in this case is charged with murder due to a prior DUI conviction
Orange County District Attorney / Case # 14HF2889 / October 9, 2015