Thirty-one-year-old Ali Zohair Fakhreddine was arrested after allegedly striking and killing an elderly woman and her dog and then fleeing from the scene. Authorities suspected that Fakhreddine drove drunk leading up to the fatal hit-and-run.
The crash occurred on Sunday, Sept. 6th at approximately 6:30 a.m. in Costa Mesa, CA. CHP spokesman Officer Florentino Olivera said Fakhreddine was driving southbound on Irvine Avenue when he sped through a red light at Mesa Drive. As Fakhreddine ran the light, he struck 72-year-old Newport Beach resident Cleausa M. Coffman who entered the crosswalk with her dog.
Emergency medical personnel reported that the injuries Coffman and her dog sustained were extremely severe. Unfortunately, both victims succumbed to their injuries and were pronounced dead at the scene of the crime. Officers immediately launched a search for Fakhreddine’s vehicle; he was reported to be driving a silver 2014 Hyundai Sedan.
A few hours later, the Riverside Police Department received a call about a head-on traffic collision involving a vehicle that fit this description. When authorities arrived at the scene, they found Fakhreddine passed out at the wheel of the silver sedan.
When officers examined his vehicle and saw the blood and damage, they determined that it was the same one involved in the killing of a pedestrian. Authorities took Fakhreddine into custody and booked him into the Orange County Jail on DUI and felony hit-and-run charges.
Because this is Fakhreddine’s third DUI offense, prosecutors are aiming to ensure he faces maximum penalties for his crime. The courts set bail at $1 million, and the defendant may face up to 19 years to life in prison.