Man Convicted in Deadly Collision in Fountain Valley

Man Convicted in Deadly Collision in Fountain Valley
A file photograph of a judge's gavel. (AlexStar/iStock)
City News Service

SANTA ANA, Calif.—A 60-year-old Huntington Beach man was convicted of misdemeanor manslaughter on Sept. 20 for a collision that killed a 34-year-old man in Fountain Valley two years ago, but jurors deadlocked on a more serious charge of hit and run.

David Stephen Kennedy II was convicted of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter in the Sept. 11, 2021, collision that killed 34-year-old Long Ta of Santa Ana. Jurors, who deliberated for about a day and a half, deadlocked 7-5 for acquittal on a felony count of hit and run with permanent injury.

Mr. Kennedy is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 6 on the misdemeanor, which carries a one-year maximum punishment. Orange County Superior Court Judge Robert Knox ordered Mr. Kennedy, who was free on bail, to be taken into custody.

Deputy District Attorney Chris Cook told Judge Knox that prosecutors intended to pursue a retrial of Mr. Kennedy on the felony charge. A pretrial hearing on that is scheduled for Nov. 9.

The victim's family members cried in the courtroom when Mr. Kennedy was convicted.

Witnesses saw Mr. Kennedy run a red light at Edinger Avenue and Ward Street just before 6:20 a.m. two years ago, prosecutors said in a trial brief. Mr. Ta was walking north across Edinger in a crosswalk with a green light when he was struck by the van Mr. Mr. Kennedy was driving, prosecutors said.

Mr. Ta was rushed to a hospital but succumbed to his injuries on Sept. 13, 2021.

One witness told police he saw the driver pause for a moment before speeding away, prosecutors said.

Police spotted a suspect vehicle on Sept. 15 in the parking lot of Fountain Bowl, 17110 Brookhurst St., and when they questioned Mr. Kennedy he said he thought he struck a rubber bumper cushion, prosecutors said. The victim's DNA was on debris from the vehicle that was recovered at the scene of the collision, prosecutors said.