Vincent William Acosta admitted that he "knew it was dangerous" when he fled from pursuing police cars and helicopters March 10 and therefore is responsible for the deaths of three people when two helicopters collided, law enforcement authorities allege.
Acosta, who faces three murder charges as well as auto theft, reckless driving and other charges, made his statement during interrogation after his arrest in Anaheim. He led police on a chase through several cities until he finally left his car and tried to run to his home on Helena Street.
As he sped south on MacArthur Boulevard, helicopters from the Newport Beach and Costa Mesa police departments collided. Two officers, John William (Mike) Libolt and James David Ketchum, and Jeffrey Pollard, a civilian observer from Tustin aboard the Costa Mesa police craft, died. Newport Beach officers Robert Oakley and Myles Elsing survived the crash of their helicopter.
Although police and prosecutors say Acosta's actions and his statements during questioning are enough to warrant murder charges, his defense attorney, public defender William G. Kelley, disagrees. "He doesn't believe anything he did caused the crash," Kelley said. "Neither do I."