Mara Lynnes Steves, OC Homicide No. 19: Struck and Killed by Drugged-Up Driver Moments After Saving Dog

Categories: 2011 Homicides
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Sometimes bad things happen to really good people. The story of Mara Lynnes Steves is just such a circumstance. On a Sunday afternoon in mid-February, Steves had just saved a dog from oncoming traffic when an auto accident occurred in the same intersection. The driver who had run the red light, causing the accident, raced out of control in Steves direction, striking both the woman and the dog on the sidewalk. 

Steves died from her injuries and the dog, a labrador retriever named Max, had to undergo emergency veterinary services. The passengers in the other vehicle also sustained injuries.

Adam Harrison Hall, 27 was driving the vehicle that caused the accident and killed Steves. Police officers would later discover that Hall was under the influence of a range of drugs and already had two prior driving under the influence convictions. 

Today, Hall was charged with one felony count of murder, along with one felony count of driving under the influence causing bodily harm. The murder and driving under the influence charges carry enhanced sentencing due to his prior convictions. If he's convicted, Hall faces a maximum sentence of 21 years to life in a state prison. According to the press release from the Orange County District Attorney's office, Hall was arrested today by the Sheriff's Department and is being held on $1 million bail. He is expected to be arraigned tomorrow at the Central Jail in Santa Ana. 

The accident occured on Feb. 13, shortly after 1 p.m., when Hall ran the red light at Moulton Parkway and Nueva Vista Drive in Laguna Niguel while driving a Ford SUV. Upon entering the innersection, Hall's vehicle struck a Toyota SUV with two passengers, which was legally passing through the intersection. One passenger suffered a fractured collar bone, while the other had severe bruising.

The Toyota spun 360 degrees before coming to a stop, while Hall's vehicle raced out of control in Steves' direction.

At the time of the crash, Hall is accused of being under the influence of drugs, including methamphetamine, Diazepam, Nordiazepam, Alprazolam, Hydroxyalprazolam, Oxazepam, Temazepam, amphetamine, Morphine, and 11-nor-9-carboxy-delta-9-tetrahyrocannabinol (THCA).

Steves was married and had two children. She was a former PTA president at a nearby elementary school.
 
Read the full press release from the OCDA below.

DRIVER CHARGED WITH MURDERING PEDESTRIAN AND INJURING TWO OCCUPANTS OF ANOTHER CAR AFTER RUNNING RED LIGHT AND CRASHING WHILE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF DRUGS

SANTA ANA - A driver with two prior convictions for driving under the influence has been charged with murdering a pedestrian and injuring two occupants of another car in a drug-induced crash after running a red light. Adam Harrison Hall, 27, Placentia, is charged with one felony count of murder and one felony count of driving under the influence causing bodily injury with sentencing enhancements and allegations for causing bodily injury and causing great bodily injury or death to more than one victim. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 21 years to life in state prison. Hall was arrested today by the Orange County Sheriff's Department (OCSD) and is being held on $1 million bail. He is expected to be arraigned tomorrow, Wednesday, May 25, 2011, in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana. The time is to be determined.

At approximately 11:10 a.m. on Feb. 13, 2011, Hall is accused of driving northbound on Moulton Parkway while under the influence of drugs in the City of Laguna Niguel in a Ford sport utility vehicle (SUV). At the intersection of Moulton Parkway and Nueva Vista Drive, Hall is accused of driving through a red light and crashing into a Toyota SUV that was passing legally through the intersection. The force of the crash caused both vehicles to lose control. The Toyota spun 360 degrees before coming to a stop. The occupants, Steven James and Anna Gaffney, were both injured in the crash. Gaffney suffered a fractured collar bone and James suffered severe bruising.

As a result of the crash, Hall is accused of losing control of his vehicle and driving up the curb onto the sidewalk. He is accused of crashing into victim Mara Lynnes Steves, 48, who was walking in the area attempting to locate the owner of a stray dog. Hall is accused of murdering Steves, who died as a result of her injuries. Hall is also accused of hitting the dog, a labrador retriever named Max, leaving a tire mark on the animal and requiring it to undergo emergency veterinary services. Steves was honored after her death by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals for her efforts in helping the lost dog.

OCSD responded to the scene and investigated this case. At the time of the crash, Hall is accused of being under the influence of drugs including methamphetamine, Diazepam, Nordiazepam, Alprazolam, Hydroxyalprazolam, Oxazepam, Temazepam, amphetamine, Morphine, and 11-nor-9-carboxy-delta-9-tetrahyrocannabinol (THCA).

Hall is accused of having specific knowledge that he could be charged with murder if he killed someone while driving under the influence. At the time of the crime, Hall is accused of being on probation for two driving under the influence convictions. On March 3, 2008, Hall pleaded guilty to misdemeanor driving under the influence of drugs (Case # 08NM02020) for an incident occurring in October 2007. He was sentenced at that time to three years of informal probation and ordered to complete a 3-month First Offender Alcohol Program and Mothers Against Drunk Driving Victim Impact Panel.

While on probation and less than two months after being sentenced for driving under the influence of drugs, Hall was again arrested for driving under the influence on May 8, 2008. Hall pleaded guilty in that case Oct. 3, 2008, to misdemeanor driving under the influence of alcohol (Case # 08CM08821) and was sentenced to 90 days in jail, five years of informal probation, and was ordered to complete a 180-day Drug and Alcohol Program and an 18-month Multiple Offender Alcohol Program.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Alison Gyves of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.

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