(FOX 11/ CNS) - A man accused of leading police on a pursuit that ended with a collision in Westminster that killed a 12-year-old girl was charged with murder and other felonies today.
Aleksandar Apostolovic, 26, of Santa Ana, was charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault on a peace officer, hit and run causing death or permanent injury, evading while driving recklessly causing seriously bodily injury and death and first-degree residential burglary, all felonies. He also faces sentencing enhancements for a felony conviction for first-degree burglary in 2008 and multiple convictions while in prison, according to Senior Deputy District Attorney Jim Mendelson.
Apostolovic, held on $1 million bail and expected to be arraigned today, could face more than 35 years to life in prison if he is convicted at trial, the prosecutor said.
Westminster police, who were looking for Apostolovic to arrest him on a warrant, found him driving a Chevrolet Suburban in Westminster Thursday. But when they tried to have him pulled over, the defendant drove directly at a squad car and slammed into it, Mendelson alleged.
Apostolovic sped away in the SUV, driving through a red light and two stop signs during the pursuit, Mendelson alleged.
The defendant crashed into two vehicles uninvolved in the pursuit at Trask Avenue and Olive Street about 6 p.m., Mendelson said. The Suburban collided with a Toyota van, killing 12-year-old Vivian Nguyen, a Johnson Middle School student in the van.
The girl's mother and brother also were seriously injured in the crash, Mendelson said.
The defendant ran from the collision and hid in a bathroom of a home, Mendelson said.When the resident realized Apostolovic was in the bathroom, he ran away and was arrested about 12:15 a.m. Friday, hiding in some backyard bushes, according to the police and prosecutor.
Vivian Ngyuen was 12-years-old. She went to school in her hometown of Westminster where her friends say she was a "smart" and "very nice" girl. They're devastated, but so are many others here in Westminster where last night she became an innocent victim of a police pursuit.
Police say around 6pm they spotted a man who fit the description of someone they were looking for in connection with drug and firearms offenses. When police tried to pull him over, they say, he rammed the front of a police car. The officer inside was hurt and had to go to the hospital, but his injuries were minor.
Police tried to pursue the suspect in a Suburban. The chase got into high speeds. The suspect hit two more vehicles. One, a van, with 12 year old Vivien, her mom and brother who are both in the hospital.
In talking to one close family friend, who had just left the hospital, Vivian's mom has been in and out of a sleepy condition and doesn't seem to be aware her daughter has died. That friend, who couldn't stop sobbing, told me she (the mother) kept reaching out for my hand. She kept asking ‘how is my daughter?"
The 26-year-old suspect, Aleksandar Apostoloic of Santa Ana, was arrested after a foot chase following the collision with Vivian's family van and another car. He was discovered behind some bushes in a backyard with the help of an infrared camera in a police helicopter.
The investigation into this case continues.
(FOX 11 / CNS) A 26-year-old Santa Ana man was captured today hours after fleeing the scene of a fatal vehicle collision that killed an 12-year-old girl, authorities said.
The man will be charged with murder and assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer after causing a fatal vehicle collision during a police pursuit, police said. Aleksandar Apostoloic was captured at 12:15 a.m., six hours after fleeing the scene of the fatal collision, at the intersection of Trask Avenue and Hoover Street in Westminster.
Apostoloic's modified Chevy Suburban struck a Toyota van and another vehicle as it sped through the intersection with police cars in pursuit around 6 p.m. Thursday.
A 12-year-old girl who was a passenger in the van died en route to a hospital, Westminster police Sgt. Cameron Knauerhaze. The victim's mother and 13-year-old brother were in critical but stable condition in a hospital, Knauerhaze told news media outlets.
Knauerhaze said Apostoloic would be charged with murder, assault of a police officer with a deadly weapon, and reckless evasion. He said Apostoloic had previously been sought on firearms and drug offences.
Apostoloic was found hiding in bushes in the backyard of a residence several blocks from the collision, Knauerhaze said. Knauerhaze said that in the original confrontation with authorities, around 6 p.m. Thursday, the suspect "fitted the description of someone we had been looking for.''
When police attempted to pull the Apostoloic over, he rammed his Suburban into the front of a police car. Knauerhaze said an officer suffered minor injuries and was briefly hospitalized. Apostoloic then fled eastbound on Olive Street at high speed.
Robert Ramirez, a witness who lived nearby, estimated he entered the busy intersection of Trask and Hoover at "a good 75-80, maybe 90 miles-per-hour.''
The Suburban struck a Toyota van carrying a woman and her two children, as well as another vehicle. Ramirez said the Apostoloic fled his overturned vehicle, climbed the front wall of a nearby residence and disappeared.
Knauerhaze said police received a 911 call from a resident reporting a stranger in her house, near the intersection of Brooklawn Circuit and Chestnut Street, three blocks west of the site of the collision, and responded within a minute.
Knauerhaze said the suspect ran out of the back door of the residence, and tried to hide in a nearby backyard. He was found hiding in bushes with the assistance of an Anaheim police helicopter fitted with an infrared camera.
The suspect had gained entry to the residence through an open door hid there for several hours before he was noticed, Knauerhaze said.
Apostoloic received medical attention for minor scrapes and bruises, he said.