The arraignment for a man accused of crashing into a bicyclist with his pickup truck and fleeing the scene was continued today, the Orange County district attorney's office reported.
Michael Jason Lopez, 39, of Anaheim, is charged with one felony count of hit- and-run causing death, and one misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence with a sentencing enhancement for a prior strike conviction for residential burglary in 1993, according to the D.A.'s office. Lopez appeared in a Santa Ana courtroom on Wednesday afternoon, but his arraignment was continued.
If convicted, Lopez faces a maximum sentence of eight years in state prison for the crash that claimed the life of 57-year-old Catherine "Kit" Campion-Ritz. He is expected back in court on Oct. 5.
Authorities say on Saturday at about 9:45 a.m. Campion-Ritz, an Irvine resident and Newport Beach doctor for nearly 30 years, was riding her bicycle on Newport Coast Drive with her husband when Lopez crashed into the back of the her, throwing her from her bike onto the street.
Lopez is accused of fleeing the scene and not stopping to help the injured Campion-Ritz, who was transported in critical condition to Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center in Mission Viejo. She was pronounced dead at 1:40 p.m. Saturday from injuries she suffered in the hit-and-run crash.
Lopez was arrested in Anaheim at 2 a.m. on Tuesday.
The death of Campion-Ritz was the second bicyclist fatality in Newport Beach over the weekend. Resident Sarah Leaf, 29, was killed Friday at about 10:40 a.m. when she was hit by a truck on Pacific Coast Highway and Bayside Drive. No arrests or citations have been made in connection with Leaf's death.