David Stephen Kennedy II, a 60-year-old Huntington Beach man, was convicted of misdemeanor manslaughter Wednesday for a collision that killed Long Ta, a 34-year-old Santa Ana man, in Fountain Valley two years ago. The jury deadlocked on a felony charge of hit and run with permanent injury.
Kennedy II was behind the wheel when he collided into Ta, who was on his way home from an early morning job, on Sept. 11, 2021. Kennedy II ran through a red light at the intersection of Edinger Avenue and Ward Street just before 6:20 a.m. when he hit Ta, who was in the crosswalk.
Ta was taken by paramedics to a local hospital but his injuries ended his life on September 13, 2021.
Kennedy II reportedly paused at the scene before he sped away, according to a witness, as related by the prosecutors.
On September 15, the Fountain Valley police located a suspect vehicle in the parking lot of Fountain Bowl at 17110 Brookhurst St. Kennedy II claimed that he thought he had hit a rubber bumper cushion. Prosecutors however revealed that DNA evidence from the victim was found on debris recovered from the vehicle at the collision site.
Doctors reportedly told the Ta family that his injuries were not that bad and he may have survived if he had received prompt medical care. As such if Kennedy II had called 911 instead of speeding off Ta may have lived.
Kennedy II is set to be sentenced on Oct. 6 on the misdemeanor, which at most will result in a one-year maximum incarceration. O.C. Superior Court Judge Robert Knox ordered Kennedy, who was free on bail, to be taken into custody.
O.C. Deputy District Attorney Chris Cook told Knox that the prosecutors will file for a retrial of Kennedy on the felony charge. A pretrial hearing on that charge is set for Nov. 9.