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California Briefing / Santa Ana

Marine indicted in traffic death

March 19, 2009|Mike Anton

A U.S. Marine who was allegedly drunk when he plowed his vehicle into a car at a stop light at 75 mph and killed a Newport Beach radiologist was indicted Wednesday by an Orange County grand jury on murder charges.

Lance Cpl. Elijah Leigh Ferguson, 22, is accused of ramming his Dodge Caliber into the back of an Aston Martin driven by Michael Sein, 63, on Feb. 22, 2008, at MacArthur Boulevard and Jamboree Road.

Sein died of head injuries. His wife, Grace, was seriously injured. Ferguson was treated for a broken ankle.

Authorities say Ferguson began drinking about 1 p.m. that day at Camp Pendleton. He passed out and fellow Marines took away his car keys, fearing he might drive home to Santa Ana for a weekend leave. But Ferguson was able to get the keys back and left the base about 11 p.m. The crash occurred less than an hour later.

Ferguson is being held in lieu of $1-million bail. If convicted, he could face 18 years to life in prison.

-- Mike Anton

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