MISSION VIEJO (CBSLA) – A Costa Mesa Fire & Rescue Department captain who was struck by a van while bicycling in Mission Viejo Saturday morning has died from his injuries.
The department reported that Capt. Mike Kreza, a husband and father of three young daughters, passed away early Monday morning at Mission Hospital. Kreza, an 18-year veteran of the department, was rushed to a hospital where he underwent brain surgery. He had been in critical condition and unresponsive since the collision.
“Words alone cannot describe the immeasurable heartache felt by his friends & family, including his fire family,” the department wrote in an Monday morning tweet.
A procession transported Kreza’s body Monday morning from Mission Hospital to the O.C. coroner’s office in Santa Ana.
“Capt. Kreza was one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet, always had a smile on his face and he’s a very good man… And so it’s a deep, deep loss for the family and for our entire fire family,” Costa Mesa Fire Capt. Chris Coates told reporters.
The driver who allegedly struck Kreza, 25-year-old Stephen Taylor Scarpa of Mission Viejo, has been arrested on allegations he was under the influence of drugs, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department reports.
The collision occurred at approximately 8 a.m. Saturday on Alicia Parkway near Via Burgos. Witnesses told sheriff’s deputies that Scarpa struck Taylor while he was biking east on Alicia Parkway.
Scarpa remained at the scene, where he was evaluated by a drug recognition expert. Deputies found several prescription medications in his van and arrested him on felony charges of driving under the influence.
He is being held on $100,000 bail.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to raise money for Kreza’s family. To donate, click here.