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Calif. firefighter charged in fatal hit-and-run crash

Orange County Fire Authority Firefighter Jeffrey Richard Grasinger faces four years in prison if convicted


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By Hunter Lee
The Orange County Register

ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. — A grand jury handed up an indictment last week charging a 13-year veteran Orange County Fire Authority firefighter with a hit-and-run crash that killed a man in Dana Point last year, officials said on Tuesday, Oct. 17.

Jeffrey Richard Grasinger, of Rancho Santa Margarita, was indicted on one felony count of hit and run with permanent injury or death, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

On Oct. 21, 2022, Grasinger, 36, is accused of striking the victim, 24-year-old Said Darinel Sanchez, a pedestrian who was crossing Pacific Coast Highway, the district attorney’s office said in a news release on Tuesday. The crash caused the victim to go airborne, spin through the air, and fall head first into the pavement.

Video of the collision captured the moment the vehicle hit its brakes before crashing into the victim, as well at the moments after the crash, including the vehicle leaving without stopping or rendering aid, the district attorney’s office said.

The vehicle was tracked to a home in Rancho Santa Margarita by Orange County Sheriff’s Department investigators, who found blood on the front of the vehicle and damage consistent with hitting a pedestrian.

Grasinger was determined by investigators to have been behind the wheel when Sanchez was struck and killed.

“Firefighters are public servants who are sworn to protect the lives of others,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in the news release. “While another driver stopped to render aid after witnessing the collision, Mr. Grasinger, a professional firefighter trained to provide medical attention, drove off after hitting a human being. The fact that a sworn firefighter would disregard a human life so callously is not only disturbing; it is criminal.”

Grasinger is still an employee with the OCFA, OCFA Capt. Greg Barta said on Tuesday.

He was released on his own recognizance over the objection of prosecutors, who argued for bail, and is scheduled to be arraigned on Nov. 17 at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana.

He faces a maximum sentence of four years in state prison if convicted.

Officials with the fire department declined to comment on the case.

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