Crime & Justice

Marine faces murder charges in high-speed crash

The Orange County District Attorney's Office announced today the beginning of the trial of a marine who allegedly killed a man in a high-speed car crash while under the influence of alcohol.

Lance Corporal Elijah Leigh Ferguson, 22, of Santa Ana, faces charges including murder.

According to the Orange County District Attorney's Office, Ferguson began drinking between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. at Camp Pendleton, where he was stationed, before being released for the weekend. Ferguson drank for several hours, then insisted he was going to drive home to Santa Ana before passing out at 7 p.m. in the barracks of another Marine.

Fellow Marines took Ferguson's keys while he was passed out so that he wouldn't drive home. When Ferguson woke up, he began demanding his keys and became belligerent, throwing trash on the ground and breaking his cell phone against a wall.

Other Marines planned to drive Ferguson home to Santa Ana, but then arranged for Ferguson to stay in the Camp Pendleton barracks.

At 11 p.m., Ferguson allegedly asked a lower ranking Marine to get his keys and drive him home, but when the other Marine returned with Ferguson's keys, Ferguson pulled rank and ordered the fellow Marine to give him the car keys.

At 11:53 p.m., Ferguson was allegedly driving 75 mph in a 50 mph zone in Newport Beach. He crashed his Dodge Caliber into the back of an Aston Martin, driven by 63-year-old Michael Sein, who was waiting at a red light. Sein's car spun out before coming to a stop.

Sein, a radiologist, was transported to Hoag Hospital, where he died 30 minutes later due to severe blunt trauma to the head. His wife, Grace Sein, was transported to Western Medical Center for bleeding in the brain and back injuries.

Ferguson was also transported to Western Medical Center to be treated for a broken ankle. He was contacted by Newport Beach police, who observed Ferguson showing signs of intoxication, including smelling like alcohol, slurring his speech, and having red, watery eyes. Three hours after the crash, Ferguson's blood alcohol level was measured at .12 percent.