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    Repeat drunken-driver charged with murder in Newport Beach collision that killed Rialto girl
    • May 30, 2024

    Orange County prosecutors charged a Fontana man who has previous drunken driving convictions with murder Wednesday, four days after a Memorial Day weekend collision on the Balboa Peninsula that killed a 14-year-old girl as she tried to cross a busy street.

    Joseph Alcazar, 30, was charged with crimes including murder, driving under the influence of alcohol causing great bodily injury with two previous prior convictions; driving under the influence of alcohol with a BAC of 0.08 or higher with two previous prior convictions; and a misdemeanor count of willful endangerment of a child, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

    Prosecutors said Alcazar’s blood-alcohol level registered at twice the legal limit of 0.08 on the night of the collision.

    Orange County prosecutors on Wednesday, May 29, charged Fontana resident Joseph Alcazar with Murder, days after a Memorial Weekend crash in Newport Beach left a 14-year-old girl dead. (Courtesy of the Orange County District Attorney’s Office)

    On Saturday, the victim, 14-year-old Rosenda Elizabeth Smiley of Rialto, was crossing Balboa Boulevard, west of Palm Street, with two other people against the don’t walk sign, the district attorney’s office said.

    A driver stopped to let the group cross. But Alcazar, who was in the vehicle behind that driver, allegedly drove around the stopped car and struck Smiley while also running over a 13-year-old girl’s foot.

    Smiley was pronounced dead at the scene.

    “A 14-year-old girl living the California dream enjoying a day of sun and sand at the beach with friends to kick off the beginning of summer is dead because of the selfish decision of a stranger,” District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a statement. “A repeat drunk driver not only took the life of a little girl, but he also endangered the life of his own daughter by getting behind the wheel after drinking and traumatized her and the other young girls who witnessed him hitting and killing a teenager.”

    Another man and Alcazar’s 8-year-old daughter were in the vehicle with him at the time of the crash.

    Flowers and candles adorn a sidewalk on Tuesday, May 28, near the scene of a weekend accident on the Balboa Peninsula that killed a 14-year-old girl. (Photo by Mark Evans/SCNG)

    Alcazar was previously convicted twice of driving under the influence in San Bernardino County in 2016 and 2020, including one collision that left him with serious injuries.

    He faces a maximum sentence of 15 years to life plus six years if convicted on all counts.

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    ​ Orange County Register