A Costa Mesa man was street racing, going downhill at 76 mph, when he flashed through a “stale” red light and T-boned a car, fatally injuring a woman and her grandmother in Irvine nearly four years ago, a prosecutor told jurors Tuesday, while the defendant’s attorney said there wasn’t enough evidence to convict him of two counts of second-degree murder.
Alec Scott Abraham, 24, is accused of killing 54-year-old Katherine Hampton of Lake Forest, who was pronounced dead at the scene of the June 10, 2015, crash at Alton and Barranca parkways, and her 2-year-old granddaughter Kaydence Hampton, who died of her injuries four days later.
The girl’s 7-year-old brother suffered a broken collarbone, and his 28-year-old mother was treated for a jaw fracture.
Abraham was driving a black Ford Mustang with a red interior and red wheels on Alton, racing another car as he approached the intersection at Barranca going 76 mph about 8:50 p.m., said Senior Deputy District Attorney Whitney Bokosky.
The defenant swerved to get around stopped traffic at the red light and slammed his car into a Chevrolet Cruze driven by Katherine Hampton, Bokosky said.
Both cars crashed into a Honda Civic that was at the intersection. The 44-year-old woman behind the wheel of that car was also injured and is expected to testify.
“The defendant had a stale red light” as he approached the intersection, Bokosky said. “In no world is this an accident … That is why he is charged with murder.”
Abraham fled the scene of the crash and was arrested the following day, according to prosecutors.
Bokosky said Abraham has a history of “reckless” driving that includes racing a motorcyclist on an Orange County toll road at speeds up to 120 mph after another motorist declined his challenge just a few days before the fatal crash.
“She’s going to tell you that none other than Alec Abraham challenged her to race… with his Elvis pompadour, and she said, `No thanks,”’ Bokosky said.
The prosecutor also showed jurors a video the defendant took of himself racing on a freeway at speeds up to 140 mph, punctuated with the driver letting out a “woo!”
“He likes to drive recklessly, he likes to race,” Bokosky said.
A Huntington Beach police officer who pulled the defendant over for speeding and gave him a “stern warning” is expected to testify, Bokosky said.
The defendant’s former co-workers also advised him at one point to “stop driving like an idiot,” she said.
Abraham’s attorney, Houman Fakhimi, implored jurors to put their emotions aside and to consider the evidence in the case to see if it is proven the defendant’s action amounted to murder.
“The evidence in this case is going to be sad, hurtful,” Fakhimi said. “Obviously he took actions that were wrong. At the end of the day does the evidence add up to murder? That’s the question.”
Fakhimi said the Evidence Data Recorder in the defendant’s car showed he was attempting to brake before the crash.
“He did apply the brakes. He did try to stop. He did try to swerve,” Fakhimi said.
The defense attorney said there is no evidence of Abraham racing another car aside from the claims of two witnesses.
“It would be impossible for another car to be racing my client without leaving any physical evidence” such as skid marks, Fakhimi said.
Abraham was 20 years old at the time and had received his license without the benefit of classes or traffic school, his attorney said.
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