Aleksandar Apostolovic Charged with Murder in Crash That Killed 12 y.o. Vivian Nguyen: Update

See the update at the end of this post on the district attorney's office charging Aleksandar Apostolovic with murder and several other serious felonies.

Aleksandar-Apostoloic-arrest_KCBS.jpg
KCBS/Channel 2
ORIGINAL POST, APRIL 4, 10:29 A.M.: A "career criminal" faces murder and assault with a deadly weapon charge after a police pursuit ended with a collision that killed a 12-year-old girl in Westminster Thursday evening.

Aleksandar Apostoloic Apostolovic, 26, of Santa Ana, was captured early today, about six hours after his modified black Chevy Suburban struck a Toyota van and another vehicle in the intersection of Trask Avenue and Hoover Street, Westminster Police said.

Apostoloic, who had previously been sought on firearms and drug offenses and fit the description of someone police were looking for, was spotted driving his Suburban by an officer who tried to pull him over around 6 p.m. Thursday, according to Westminster Police Sgt. Cameron Knauerhaze.

According to Knauerhaze's account carried by City News Service: The Suburban rammed into the front of the police car, injuring the officer who was briefly hospitalized, before taking off eastbound on Olive Street at high speeds. A witness later estimated the Suburban was going up to perhaps 90 mph when it entered the busy Trask and Hoover intersection and struck the Toyota van, which was carrying a woman and her two children, and another vehicle.

Vivian Nguyen, the 12-year-old in the Toyota, was pronounced dead at UCI Medical Center in Orange. Her mom and 13-year-old brother were injured but their conditions have not yet been released. (Later today, police revealed the mother and son were hospitalized in critical but stable condition. Meanwhile, grief counselors were dispatched to Johnson Middle School, where Vivian Nguyen was a student, it was also announced.)

The Suburban wound up overturned, and the driver hopped over the front wall of a nearby residence and disappeared. Nearby searches door-to-door by officers on the ground, canine teams and a police helicopter overhead were called off a couple hours later with no suspect in custody.

Then, just before midnight, police received a 9-1-1 call about a strange man who had been in someone's house near Brooklawn Circuit and Chestnut Street, which is about three blocks west of the collision site, and had just run out of the back door.

With the help of an Anaheim police helicopter fitted with an infrared camera, Apostoloic was found hiding in the bushes of a nearby backyard around 12:15 this morning, Knauerhaze said.

Murder, assault with a deadly weapon and reckless evasion charges will be sought for Apostoloic, who was treated for minor scrapes and bruises, Knauerhaze said.

aleksandar-apostolovic.jpg
Police sought and prosecutors have filed a murder count against Aleksandar Apostolovic.
UPDATE, APRIL 7, 12:09 P.M.: Aleksandar Apostolovic--that's the spelling the Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA) now gives for the defendant's last name--has now formally been charged with felony murder as well as aggravated assault on a peace officer, hit and run causing death or permanent injury, evading while driving recklessly causing seriously bodily injury and death, and first degree residential burglary, all felonies.

The 26-year-old also faces sentencing enhancements for a prior strike conviction for first degree burglary in 2008 and multiple prison priors, states the OCDA, which adds conviction on all counts could send the Santa Ana resident to state prison for 35 years to life.

He is being held on $1 million bail in this case with an additional no-bail hold for a warrant case in Los Angeles County, notes the OCDA, which expects Apotolovic to be arraigned at 1:30 p.m. today in Westminster.

It was the outstanding warrant that caused police detectives to try to stop Apostolovic's Suburban in Westminster before the pursuit that included the attempted ramming of a marked police unit and a red signal and two stop signs being run, the OCDA states.

As for "murdering" 12-year-old Vivian Nguyen and seriously injuring her brother and mother, the OCDA relates, "The defendant is accused of acting with malice by driving with conscious disregard for the lives of others."

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!



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17 comments
leila2006
leila2006

Any person fleeing from police or DUI and harms or kills someone should automatically be sentenced for some kind of drastic charge. Come on no matter how slow or dumb you are you know there are people on the street. The reason why people keep doing things like fleeing or DUI is because they get off to easy. Law looks at the little things people get in trouble for and want to give them jail or huge fines, but yet people like this get a slap on their hand. There are a few people I have heard about that killed people for DUI and only got one yr with probation. Really that is so unacceptable especially when the person harmed is a innocent child. Our tax dollars for jails and prisons are for people that seriously have done something significantly harmful and not just a ticket not paid or other non harmless crimes. I hope the laws change real soon. 

gregbpc
gregbpc topcommenter

Anyone who flees from the police in a car should have a minimum 15 year sentence. Make fleeing have a worse penalty than any crime they are fleeing for.  It's sad people get hurt from these chases, but if you eliminate chases, all criminals have to do is flee, and they're home free.

yati
yati

Low life, POS!

949girl
949girl topcommenter

I like how you use "career criminal" and "murdering" in quotes.  Really sad situation.  What is the charge of felony murder?  Is it first degree, second, manslaughter?  Please clarify.  I know if you kill anyone in commission of a crime whether intended or not it can be a murder charge.  But what was he doing when they started to pursue him?  If he was just a wanted man and they were suspicious of him it just sounds like he wasn't doing anything "criminal" at the time and he took off and then unfortunately killed the girl.  I agree with all of the charges except for the felony murder charge (unless clarified) because wouldn't the hit and run causing death or permanent injury charge cover that?  Sounds redundant. 

Luis Roman
Luis Roman

Just put his ass to death! Guilty!!! No trial for this stupid idiot!!

Marisa Hidalgo
Marisa Hidalgo

Good. Murder and sentence him hard. I hope he's stupid enough to not take a plea bargain and get the book thrown at him. Bastard.

JGlanton
JGlanton topcommenter

The real reason that helicopter search was called off after two hours was for a priority mission to follow Moxley after a report came over the airwaves that he was seen leaving Ban Mi Cho Chu and could be heading towards his home.

rittergirl44
rittergirl44

And "career criminal"?  what is he even doing here?

rittergirl44
rittergirl44

Another one of those foreigner allowed to come into our country to take advantage of our laws (or lack of) that make it possible for them to collect welfare, get free housing, food stamps, education costs, and still conduct their criminal activity for their real money.  He'll cost us a fortune now for a free defense and then he will get the best of care in jail for a few years where he will make a fortune dealing drugs and then get out and start all over.  I hate this liberal stupid country I live in.  Wish I lived where they just shoot you.

Lizz Jacobo
Lizz Jacobo

Does anyone know how we can help the family of the young girl who was killed? Anywhere I can donate money?

urnakama
urnakama

@949girl  Hit and run could be as minor as running into a parked car and leaving the scene of the crime. It does not include any form of physical harm upon another person(s). Permanent injury applies to the brother of the dead 12-year old girl. The murder charge is for killing a little girl. He may not have meant to kill a little girl, but he did not take that into consideration when he ran an intersection. The charges are reasonable and suit each individual crime. 

MatthewTCoker
MatthewTCoker topcommenter

@949girl If it was first degree, the max penalty would be life without the possibility of parole. In this case the max is 35 years to life, so that would cover second degree plus some of the other felonies.

ted.mendez
ted.mendez

@rittergirl44 You're pretty stupid. Better to be considered an idiot than to open your mouth and confirm it.

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