DUI Murder Trial for a Man Accused in Death of Costa Mesa Boy Deferred Until May

The Los Angeles Times reports that an Orange County District Court judge has deferred the DUI murder trial of a Long Beach man who is believed to be responsible for the death of a 12-year-old Costa Mesa boy in 2020.

On Thursday, January 29, 2022, Judge Shiela Hanson agreed with public defender Jennifer Ryan’s request that the trial of 59-year-old Richard David Lavalle be postponed until May 6, 2022. Orange County District Attorney Daniel Feldman, who appeared remotely, told the Santa Ana Court that his office was amenable to the postponement.

The fatal crash occurred on December 6, 2020, just before 6:00 p.m., when Lavalle drove a rented Ford F-150 pickup truck through a stop sign. The sign was located at an intersection on Arlington Drive in Costa Mesa near TeWinkle Park. Lavalle’s truck struck a father and son who had been riding bicycles near the entrance to the park and were waiting in the crosswalk.

The force of the impact knocked the child several feet into the air onto the pavement. Despite lifesaving efforts by a Good Samaritan and police officers, the boy died due to his injuries. Lavalle was arrested at the scene on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol.

Recently, a memorial bench was erected on Arlington Drive to the boy.

Court documents show that In 2009 Lavalle was convicted of armed bank robbery and was sentenced to 35 months in federal prison. In 2013, Lavalle was convicted of DUI in San Diego County. According to California law, a second DUI conviction allows a charge of DUI manslaughter to be upgraded to DUI murder. 

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