SANTA ANA, CA – On Saturday, police responded to a hit-and-run on Newport Boulevard, to find a 74-year-old man lying in the street, gravely injured. The victim, identified as Richard Frost of Newport Beach was transported to a local hospital, where he would soon be pronounced dead.
A witness attempted to stop the man driving the Chevy Malibu which struck Frost, and was able to provide police with a good deal of information about the suspect and his vehicle.
Police later found the suspect, Stewart Waithanji, 28, at a Los Alamitos bar.
The Orange County District Attorney's Office said in a press release:
Waithanji was wanted on a warrant on a September 2019 driving under the influence case and also on second warrant for an October 2019 driving under the influence case. He has three prior driving under the influence convictions in Iowa.
The life of a human being is not something to be discarded and thrown away; a life is something to be celebrated, treasured, and lived to the very fullest. Yet, a 74-year-old man was left for dead in the middle of the street, tossed aside as if he never mattered, because of the selfish decision of a stranger to get behind the wheel while intoxicated. His life may not have mattered to the driver who left him for dead, but it matters to me and it matters to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. And we will fight for justice for him and everyone who loved him.
Waithanji has been charged with one felony count of murder, one felony count of driving under the influence, one felony count of driving under the influence with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or higher, and two misdemeanor counts of hit and run. He is currently being held at the Orange County Jail on $2,250,000 bail.
If convicted, he faces a sentence of up to life in prison. His next court appearance is set for April 30.
*Waithanji came to this country from Kenya and is currently employed as a waiter in Costa Mesa.