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Hit-and-run suspect charged

September 19, 2012
(Courtesy Orange…)

The Orange County district attorney's office announced charges Wednesday against a man accused of hitting a Newport Beach doctor with a truck and fleeing the scene.

Michael Jason Lopez, 39, of Anaheim faces one felony count of hit-and-run causing death and one misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence, according to the D.A.'s office.

Lopez also faces a sentencing enhancement for a prior strike conviction — a 1993 residential burglary.

Lopez appeared in Orange County Superior Court on Wednesday, but his arraignment was continued. He is due back in court Oct. 5.

He was still in custody as of Wednesday afternoon.

On Saturday, prosecutors allege that Lopez hit Dr. Catherine "Kit" Campion Ritz, a 57-year-old Irvine resident and 18-year president of Greater Newport Physicians, with a full-sized truck as she biked along Newport Coast Drive at 9:45 a.m. Prosecutors contend that Lopez did not stop to render aid and left the scene.

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Campion Ritz died hours after the collision at Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo.

Newport Beach police arrested Lopez at 2 a.m. Tuesday. He faces a maximum sentence of eight years in state prison, if convicted.

— Lauren Williams and Jill Cowan

Twitter: @lawilliams30 and @jillcowan

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