A 28-year-old man pleaded not guilty Friday to charges related to an alcohol-fueled crash on the Costa Mesa (55) Freeway in Tustin last year.

Anthony James Robles of Rowland Heights was charged with second-degree murder, driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury, a DUI with a blood-alcohol content higher than the legal limit of .08% causing injury and driving under the influence of alcohol and drug while causing injury, all felonies.

Robles, who was arrested Thursday, was being held on $1 million bail, according to jail records.

Robles was southbound in a 2008 BMW 335i on the freeway in the No. 3 lane going at a “high rate of speed,” with 24-year-old Esperanza Cruz of Anaheim in the right front passenger seat just after 2 a.m. Feb. 23, 2021, when the defendant slammed into the rear of a 2012 Lexus RX350 in the same lane just north of the Santa Ana (5) Freeway, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The driver of the Lexus was taken to an area hospital and Cruz was pronounced dead at the scene.

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