Murder gets 15 years for killing cyclist in Newport Beach

Neil Storm Stphany, 24, was driving under the influence of heroin when he murdered a bicyclist in a hit-and-run crash in Newport Beach. He was found guilty by a jury of felony murder October 26. Yesterday he received the maximum– 15 years to life– for his crime.

Niel Stephany pic

Addict Stephany has been convicted of murder, his pickup was his weapon.

At approximately 5:00 p.m. on Oct 19 of last year, Stephany drove a Toyota Tacoma pickup truck, while under the influence of heroin, westbound on PCH in Newport Beach. Just east of Los Trancos he swerved into the bike lane and drove into the back of 30-year-old bicyclist Shaun Eagleson. He then continued into the guardrail and left the scene without stopping.

Witnesses called 911 to report Stephany’s as he drove away from the scene. Paramedics arrived and transported Eagleson to Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo where
he later died from his injuries.

Newport Beach Police located and arrested Stephany half an hour later near Newport Center Drive and East Coast Highway. He had a 2011 DUI conviction and in 2013 signed a statement at that time acknowledging 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 successfully prosecuted this case.

You Can Report Bad or Hostile Drivers

 You don’t have to let careless or belligerent drivers get away with it.  For years the Department of Motor Vehicles has had a program to get bad drivers off the road. Click on this form to open a PDF you can fill out to start the process.

Driver Complaint - thumbIntended primarily to report elderly, blind, or impaired drivers whose conditions have deteriorated to the point they may be a threat to others, this procedure causes the DMV contact the individual to prove they still qualify to be licensed to drive. Increasingly now, bicyclists are using this process to turn in hostile drivers, those who buzz-pass in violation of the 3-Foot Passing law, or make dangerous “right hook” or “left cross” turns which put them in jeopardy.

Rude, careless, and hostile often equals assault. Bicyclists are fully franchised users of the road. Motorists must respect your space, pass only when safe to do so, and at least show you the same courtesy they do other motorists.

Polite honks are one thing; long, drawn out horn use delivered at the last second or while sitting on your wheel is another. It’s pure intimidation, a threat delivered from a 4,000 lb. vehicle– it qualifies as “assault with a deadly weapon.”

The DMV Driver Reevaluation form covers that.

But will it get results? Lawyers familiar with the DMV’s process say it will, eventually. A driver properly identified on the form will be contacted and informed their behavior on the road warrants an interview. The process is as anonymous as the DMV can keep it– your identity should not be revealed but the nature of your complaint will be.

“Acts violent or aggressive while driving,” “Fails to react to traffic signals, other cars, or pedestrians, etc.,”  “Turns in front of other cars [or bicycles].” When you check these boxes and add additional comments on the form you should get a DMV officer’s attention.

And multiple complaints filed on the same driver will have real impact.

The driver’s name is not essential. Contrary to the asterisk on the form, a complete license plate number and vehicle description can trigger the review process. If you post video evidence of hostile or reckless behavior on line, be sure to include a link on the form. That’s another reason to pack a GoPro or Fly6 camera.

The California Association of Bicycle Organizations and committees within Caltrans are examining the form and reporting process to make it more responsive to pedestrians and bicyclists. We’ll update this column as news becomes available.

Motorist Charged in John Colvin’s Death

John Greg Colvin was killed last June while bicycling on Coast Highway in Laguna Beach when he was stuck by a Prius that swerved into him. The driver of that Prius, Dylan Rand-Luby, age 19 at the time of the collision, was charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter and felony hit and run by the Orange County District Attorney today. Dylan fled the scene, continuing to drive north on Coast Highway, reportedly with his head out the window because he couldn’t see through the cracked windshield.Two witnesses detained him further up the road.

The Orange County Bicycle Coalition held a memorial ride last July for John Colvin and Debra Deem, a cyclist killed on Newport Coast Drive. Many cyclists attended to honor their memories and bring attention to the issues of cycling safety and collisions which are often caused by distracted or under the influence motorists.

 http://ktla.com/2015/02/05/20-year-old-newport-beach-man-charged-in-hit-and-run-crash-that-killed-cyclist-55/

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/laguna-650292-year-old.html

http://www.coastlinepilot.com/news/tn-cpt-me-0206-cyclist-fatality-charges-20150205,0,7050197.story