Resolutions are few and special. Senator Pat Bates and I joint-authored Senate Concurrent Resolution 21, which received a unanimous roll call during Monday afternoon’s Senate Floor Session. We have Assemblymembers Brough and Petrie-Norris as Principal Coauthors and Senators Chang and Umberg as Coauthors. It’s an OC bipartisan effort. So you can see, this effort is special in more ways than one.
The effort is to recognize Costa Mesa Fire Captain Michael Kreza, who was killed while riding his bicycle last November by a driver being charged with driving under the influence and second-degree murder. He left behind his wife and three daughters. I have individuals who were close to me and my family who have recently died when struck by moving vehicles where the drivers made mental errors. It’s very traumatic and tragic and the pain lingers. I wish I could find a way to legislate smarter driving to protect innocent pedestrians and bicyclists. Consequently, my heart goes out to the Kreza family for their loss.
Donations can be made to the Kreza Family and the Costa Mesa Widows and Orphans Fund.
Here is the Resolution in full, followed by the pieces in MyNewsLA.com, Patch Newport Beach/Corona del Mar, the Daily Pilot and the OC Register.
WHEREAS, The untimely passing of Costa Mesa Fire & Rescue Captain Michael Kreza, at 44 years of age, on November 5, 2018, has brought a sense of immense sorrow and loss to people throughout California; and
WHEREAS, Fire Captain Michael Kreza was a distinguished California firefighter and much-loved family man, whose character, integrity, and singular commitment earned him the respect and admiration of his fellow firefighters, the members of the greater Costa Mesa community, and the countless other individuals whose lives he touched; and
WHEREAS, Michael Kreza, who was the son of a police officer, grew up in the City of Irvine and chose to follow in his father’s footsteps by engaging his passion in a career protecting the public, and enrolled in fire science classes at Santa Ana College after high school, which inaugurated his commitment to the firefighting profession as a Paid Call Firefighter with the Orange County Fire Authority; and
WHEREAS, Following his graduation from the Crafton Hills Fire Academy in 1993, Michael Kreza sought to further advance his emergency responder skills, and while working in the Hoag Hospital Irvine Emergency Department, he was accepted to the Paramedic Program at Saddleback College, from which he graduated in 1997; and
WHEREAS, Having subsequently gained experience as an Emergency Department Technician in Seattle, Washington, and as a paramedic in Las Vegas, Nevada, Michael Kreza returned to California, where he worked as a firefighter for the Big Bear Fire Department before being hired in 2000 by the Costa Mesa Fire & Rescue Department; and
WHEREAS, Throughout his 18-year tenure with Costa Mesa Fire & Rescue, Fire Captain Kreza brought his tireless dedication and boundless zeal to the force through his participation as a wholly engaged member of the department’s close-knit firefighting community, within which he shared his experience and leadership by, among other things, serving as a member of the Tools and Equipment Committee, managing the charity fund, and participating in the Honor Guard; and
WHEREAS, As Michael Kreza rose to the rank of Fire Captain and took his well-merited position as an esteemed veteran of the Costa Mesa Fire & Rescue Department, Fire Captain Kreza also served as an ever-inspiring role model, pursued his love of being an accomplished Ironman athlete, earned a bachelor’s degree from Columbia Southern University, and continually derived joy from his role as a devoted husband to his wife, Shanna, and a loving father to his three daughters; and
WHEREAS, The people of California have a special and enduring respect for the valiant individuals who daily commit themselves to the often perilous duties performed by firefighters, and the exceptional respect Fire Captain Kreza earned among his fellow firefighters and within the City of Costa Mesa bears testament to the positive impact he had in his community and in the lives of his fellow firefighters by virtue of his estimable character, leadership, and sincere concern for others; and
WHEREAS, Fire Captain Michael Kreza exemplified all the best attributes of a professional firefighter, who was known to be the heart of his family, and who leaves to mourn his passing and celebrate his legacy his devoted wife, Shanna, his daughters, Kaylie, Layla, and Audrey, and the members of the Costa Mesa Fire & Rescue Department, all of whom had the good fortune to share his company during his all too brief time with them; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Senate of the State of California, the Assembly thereof concurring, That the Legislature expresses its deepest sympathy at the passing of Fire Captain Michael Kreza of the Costa Mesa Fire & Rescue Department and, by this resolution, memorializes him for his exemplary record of personal, professional, and civic achievements, as well as the love and devotion he shared with his family and friends by designating the portion of State Route 55 from 19th Street (PM 2.021) to MacArthur Boulevard (R6.985) in the County of Orange as the Costa Mesa Fire Captain Michael Kreza Memorial Highway; and be it further
Resolved, That the Department of Transportation is requested to determine the cost of appropriate signs consistent with the signing requirements for the state highway system showing this special designation and, upon receiving donations from nonstate sources sufficient to cover the cost, to erect those signs; and be it further
Resolved, That the Secretary of the Senate transmit copies of this resolution to the Director of Transportation and to the author for appropriate distribution.
Stretch of Costa Mesa Freeway to Be Named in Honor of Late Fire Captain
POSTED BY CONTRIBUTING EDITOR
A stretch of the Costa Mesa (55) Freeway will be designated in honor of a Costa Mesa Fire & Rescue Department captain who was struck and killed while bicycling following unanimous approval of a resolution by the state Senate Monday.
The freeway will be known as the Costa Mesa Fire Captain Michael Kreza Memorial Highway between 19th Street in Costa Mesa to MacArthur Boulevard on the border of Irvine and Santa Ana.
Because Senate Concurrent Resolution 21 was previously approved by the Assembly, it will soon become law as it does not need Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signature.
“No words and no act can ever truly express the gratitude that we have for Capt. Mike Kreza’s life of service,” said Sen. Patricia Bates, R-Laguna Niguel, who co-authored the resolution with Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa.
“However, I do hope that the highway naming in his honor will remind people of his commitment to keep Orange County safe. May his memory continue to inspire others as we need more role models like him.”
Kreza, 44, was off duty and training for a triathlon when he was struck by a van driven by Stephen Taylor Scarpa about 8 a.m. Nov. 3 in Mission Viejo and died two days later, according to Carrie Braun of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
Scarpa has been charged with second-degree murder and DUI. Sheriff’s investigators found several prescription medications in the van, Braun said.
Costa Mesa Fire Captain’s Memory Honored Through Freeway Renaming
In a unanimous decision, a stretch of the 55 Freeway will bear the name of CM Fire Capt. Mike Kreza, struck and killed in November of 2018.
COSTA MESA, CA — A Costa Mesa Fire and Rescue captain is having a stretch of the 55 Freeway named in his honor. The California state Senate approved the motion on Monday, made by Orange County state Senators John Moorlach and Patricia Bates.
The freeway will now be known as the Costa Mesa Fire Captain Michael Kreza Memorial Highway between 19th Street in Costa Mesa to MacArthur Boulevard on the border of Irvine and Santa Ana.
The Senate Concurrent Resolution 21 was previously approved by the Assembly, and will soon become law, and does not require Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signature to take effect.
Kreza was struck while off duty and training for a triathlon in Mission Viejo in Nov. of 2018. He died two days later, surrounded by loved ones.
The van driver, Stephen Taylor Scarpa, was charged with second-degree murder and DUI. Sheriff’s investigators found several prescription medications in the van, Orange County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Carrie Braun said.
Kreza was an 18-year veteran of the department.
“We are eternally grateful for the outpouring of support from our brothers and sisters from fire departments, law enforcement agencies, and the collective communities throughout the state,” the Costa Mesa Fire Department said at the time of his death.
“No words and no action can ever truly express the gratitude that we have for Capt. Mike Kreza’s life of service,” said Sen. Patricia Bates, R- Laguna Niguel, who co-authored the resolution with Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa. “However, I do hope that the highway naming in his honor will remind people of his commitment to keeping Orange County safe. May his memory continue to inspire others as we need more role models like him.”
Donations to the Kreza Family, and the Costa Mesa Widows and Orphans fund, are still being accepted.
Capt. Mike Kreza and family. (GoFundMe Photo)
Stretch of 55 Freeway will be named for late Costa Mesa fire captain
A floral arrangement sits outside the November memorial service for Costa Mesa fire Capt. Mike Kreza.
By HILLARY DAVIS
A 5-mile stretch of the 55 Freeway running through Costa Mesa will be named in honor of a city fire captain who died last year after being struck by an allegedly impaired driver.
The newly designated “Costa Mesa Fire Captain Michael Kreza Memorial Highway” will run from 19th Street to MacArthur Boulevard, thanks to a resolution the state Senate and Assembly passed this month.
Kreza, 44, of Rancho Santa Margarita was based at Costa Mesa Fire Station 6 near South Coast Plaza and was an 18-year veteran of the Costa Mesa Fire & Rescue Department. He died Nov. 5, two days after being hit by a van while riding his bicycle off-duty in Mission Viejo. He is survived by his wife and three young daughters.
“The people of California have a special and enduring respect for the valiant individuals who daily commit themselves to the often perilous duties performed by firefighters, and the exceptional respect Fire Captain Kreza earned among his fellow firefighters and within the city of Costa Mesa bears testament to the positive impact he had in his community and in the lives of his fellow firefighters by virtue of his estimable character, leadership and sincere concern for others,” the Legislature-approved resolution states.
State Sens. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) and Pat Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) sponsored the resolution, which passed the Senate without dissent Monday and likewise cleared the Assembly last Thursday. Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach) was a co-sponsor.
The Costa Mesa City Council also unanimously backed the resolution in May.
The state Department of Transportation will use donated funds to erect signs showing the special designation. The cost is yet to be determined.
“Family, crew members and visitors to our city will always remember Mike Kreza,” the Costa Mesa Firefighters Assn. wrote in a Facebook post about the resolution.
The man accused of driving the van that struck Kreza — Stephen Taylor Scarpa, 25, of Mission Viejo — is charged with one count of murder. He previously pleaded not guilty.
Sheriff’s deputies and a forensic toxicologist testified at a court hearing last week that Scarpa showed signs of impairment right after the crash, and tests showed he had several substances in his blood, including methamphetamine, painkillers and sedatives.
Stretch of 55 will be named after
Costa Mesa firefighter, fatally
struck by motorist
After unanimous approval by the state Senate on Monday, Aug. 26, a stretch of the 55 Freeway will be dedicated to Costa Mesa Fire & Rescue Captain Michael Kreza who died in November 2018 after being struck by a suspected DUI driver. (File Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)By ALMA FAUSTO
A Costa Mesa fire captain who authorities say was fatally struck while riding his bicycle by a suspected DUI motorist is set to get a stretch of the 55 Freeway named in his honor.
The proposal, unanimously approved by the state Senate on Monday, Aug. 26, will name the freeway, from 19th Street to MacArthur Boulevard, the Costa Mesa Fire Captain Michael Kreza Memorial Highway. The Assembly had already approved it.
The 18-year veteran of Costa Mesa Fire & Rescue died Nov. 5, 2018, two days after getting hit while he was off-duty and cycling in Mission Viejo, training for his next Ironman competition.
Sen. Patricia Bates, R-Laguna Niguel, co-authored the resolution with Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa.
Kreza lived in Rancho Santa Margarita, a city in Bates’ district.
“There’s so much community interest and it’s hard, especially when we lose hometown heroes,” she said on Tuesday. “I reached out to his family and to the Costa Mesa fire department about doing something to honor him.”
That strip of freeway is close to Station No. 3, where Kreza was first stationed.
“It’s something to remember his career of service to this county,” Bates said.
Two signs, covered by donations, will be put up by Caltrans, perhaps sometime next year.
In a memorial Facebook page run by Kreza’s family, his wife, Shanna, wrote: “I envision when the girls are teenagers they will be able to drive that stretch and see their daddy’s sign every time they go to the beach.”
The 44-year-old’s hospitalization and subsequent death prompted an outpouring of support for his wife, three young daughters and colleagues and led to community events in his honor, including fundraisers and bike rides.
Kreza attended Irvine High School and Santa Ana College. He was a paramedic and firefighter in Seattle, Las Vegas and Big Bear before joining Costa Mesa Fire & Rescue.
The fire captain’s passion for triathlons and other athletic activities earned him the nickname “Ironman Mike.”
Stephen Taylor Scarpa, 25, of Mission Viejo is accused of driving the van while under the influence of a controlled substance. He faces a charge of murder. Scarpa told investigators that he was on prescribed medications.
“Captain Kreza served with distinction and it is right to memorialize him with this segment of the Costa Mesa Freeway,” Moorlach said in a statement. “I’m hoping it will also be a reminder that vehicle operators need to be respectful of bicyclists and pedestrians.”
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