A 25-year-old Mission Viejo man who allegedly drove under the influence of drugs is scheduled to be arraigned Friday on a charge of murder for colliding with an off-duty Costa Mesa fire captain who was riding his bicycle in Mission Viejo.

Stephen Taylor Scarpa is accused of killing Capt. Mike Kreza, who died Nov. 5.

Typically, a deadly collision for a defendant without a prior DUI conviction would lead to a gross vehicular manslaughter charge, but prosecutors can upgrade the charge if the motorist has been given a specific admonition on the dangers of drinking and driving.

Scarpa faces up to 15 years to life in prison if convicted of second-degree murder. A gross vehicular manslaughter conviction does not carry a life sentence.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Dan Feldman declined to comment on why prosecutors elected to pursue a murder charge.

Scarpa was driving a van east on Alicia Parkway near Via Burgos when he allegedly struck the 18-year veteran fire captain about 8 a.m. Nov. 3, according to Carrie Braun of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. Kreza was rushed to an area hospital in critical condition and pronounced dead two days later.

Sheriff’s investigators found several prescription medications in the van, Braun said.

Kreza, a married father of three daughters, was training for a triathlon when he was struck by the van.

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