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Orange County

Suspect in Fatal Crash Gives Up

August 14, 2003|David Haldane | Times Staff Writer

A man suspected of fleeing after a boat he was towing broke loose and killed a motorcyclist on the Costa Mesa Freeway has turned himself in to authorities.

Joseph Frank Miller, 41, of Anaheim walked into the California Highway Patrol's Santa Ana headquarters about 8:50 p.m. Tuesday and "provided information regarding his involvement in the hit-and-run collision," Officer Ken Yoon said.

Miller, whom police had been searching for since Monday morning when the accident occurred just south of the Santa Ana Freeway in Tustin, was booked at Orange County Jail on suspicion of felony hit-and-run, vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, and driving on a suspended license, as well as an unrelated earlier charge of beating his spouse, Yoon said.

Bail was set at $100,000.

Killed in Monday's accident was Mark Stephen Burris, 34, of Huntington Beach, who was driving a motorcycle in the carpool lane when Miller's boat -- which he had recently bought and was pulling on a trailer behind a U-Haul truck -- broke loose, careened into a car driven by a 31-year-old Irvine woman and then into Burris' motorcycle.

The woman was not hurt.

Following the accident, police said, Miller got out of the truck, became hysterical when he saw what had happened, climbed back in and sped away, leaving the boat and trailer behind.

By tracing the boat's registration numbers, investigators said, they linked it to an address in San Diego, but it turned out to be an uninhabited boat slip in a marina.

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