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Police Still Seeking Man in Fatal Crash

Driver fled the scene after a boat came loose on the Costa Mesa Freeway and killed a motorcyclist.

August 13, 2003|David Haldane | Times Staff Writer

The search continued Tuesday for a motorist who fled the scene after a boat he was towing on the Costa Mesa Freeway broke loose and killed a motorcyclist.

"We had some pivotal leads indicating he may have gone to San Diego," said Sgt. Chico Ramos of the California Highway Patrol, "so we sent some investigators down there but were unable to find him."

Mark Stephen Burris, 34, of Huntington Beach was killed Monday just south of the Santa Ana Freeway in Tustin when a boat that was being towed by a U-Haul truck detached, along with its trailer, and struck Burris' motorcycle in the carpool lane.

The boat first hit a car driven by a 31-year-old Irvine woman, but she was not injured.

Following the accident, police said, the driver of the U-Haul -- described as a dark-skinned man in his mid-30s and with a goatee -- got out of the truck, became hysterical when he saw what had happened, then climbed back into the truck seat and sped away from the scene, leaving the boat and trailer behind.

By tracing the boat's registration numbers, Ramos said, investigators learned that it had recently been sold.

They interviewed the boat's former owner, who is not a suspect in the case, and were given a partial name and a San Diego address for the man who had purchased the boat, Ramos said.

But when investigators went to San Diego, he said, the address turned out to be that of an uninhabited boat slip in a marina.

"We are following other potential leads," Ramos said, among them possible locations from which the U-Haul was rented. "We do expect to make an arrest, but we don't know when."

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