Identity of 14-year-old victim in fatal traffic collision released, driver charged with murder

Authorities have identified Rosenda Elizabeth Smiley, 14, of Rialto, as the victim in a fatal traffic collision that occurred last weekend on Balboa Peninsula.

The driver of the vehicle that struck her, Joseph Alcazar, 30, of Fontana, has been charged with murder, among other charges, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s (OCDA’s) Office.

On Saturday, May 25 at 6:47 p.m., the Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD) dispatch center received a call regarding a vehicle versus pedestrian traffic collision in the area of Balboa Boulevard and Palm Street. Newport Beach Police Officers and Fire personnel responded and tragically, Smiley, the pedestrian, was pronounced deceased on scene.

The NBPD Major Accident Investigation Team responded to the scene to conduct an extensive and thorough investigation. It was determined that alcohol appeared to be a factor.

The driver of the vehicle, Alcazar, was arrested on suspicion of 187(a) PC – Homicide: Traffic Fatality and 273A(a) PC – Cruelty to Child. (There was a juvenile female in the car with the suspect, along with an adult male.)

Since then, Alcazar has been charged with 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 OCDA’s Office.

“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,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a news release.

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

Editor’s Note: An arrest contains allegations that a suspect has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.


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