Trial is scheduled to begin in Santa Ana this morning in what prosecutors filed as the "murder" of Shaun Eagleson, a 30-year-old bicyclist who Newport Beach Police say was mowed down by pickup driver who was blazing on heroin.
Neil Storm Stephany is charged with one felony count of murder in the hit-and-run death that the Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA) says could send the Huntington Beach 24-year-old to state prison for up to 15 years to life with a conviction.
Thirty-year-old Eagleson was riding his bike west on East Coast Highway near Los Trancos around 5 p.m. on Oct. 19, 2014, when a truck that was also going westbound swerved into the bike lane and struck him from behind. The truck continued to be driven into the guardrail and then kept going and left the scene without stopping.
Witnesses called 9-1-1 and paramedics came to aide Eagleson but the married Fountain Valley resident died about 9:45 that night at Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo.
Stephany was arrested in his Toyota Tacoma at Newport Center Drive and East Coast Highway shortly after the collision. He pleaded not guilty last November to second-degree murder, hit-and-run with permanent and serious injury and unlawful possession of a controlled substance.
The OCDA said at the time that Stephany had signed an advisement from a 2011 DUI conviction stating he could be charged with murder if he killed someone while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
The Huntington Beach resident also apparently violated his parole for a 2013 conviction of assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury and unlawful possession of a controlled substance. Besides serving jail time for the 2011 and '13 convictions, Stephany reportedly spent more time behind bars for violating parole in each case.
The Shaun Eagleson Memorial Campaign through GoFundMe.com exceeded its $24,000 goal for funeral expenses to lay to rest the co-owner of Apex Audio studio in Huntington Beach and a former member of the Riverside band The Enemy Within.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.