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Two-Time Drunk Driver Held in Death of Good Samaritan and Community Activist Mara Steves

Adam Harrison Hall, 27, of Placentia, who allegedly had 10 drugs and medications in his system, was charged with murder and DUI in the deadly collision. Authorities spent more than three months investigating the crash, which drew national attention.

A 27-year-old Placentia man was arrested Tuesday in connection with the death of community activist Feb. 13 while trying to rescue a dog that had been running in traffic.

Orange County Sheriff's Department deputies arrested Adam Hall in a phone booth at a Walgreens in Yorba Linda about 3:30 in the afternoon, according to sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino.

The good Samaritan's death made national news and earned a nod from which presented her husband, John, daughter Hannah and son Jonathan with a posthumous certificate in her name called The Compassionate Action Award.

Hall, who had two prior convictions for driving under the influence, has been charged with murder in the drug-induced crash, the Orange County District Attorney's office said. (After his second conviction, authorities warned Hall he could face a murder rap if he killed someone while driving under the influence.)

He was also charged with one felony count of driving under the influence causing bodily injury, and is being held on $1-million bail. If convicted, Hall faces a maximum 21 years to life in state prison.

On the day of the accident, according to authorities, Hall had a virtual pharmacy of drugs coursing through his veins. Driving north on Moulton Parkway in a Ford sport utility vehicle, he allegedly sailed through a red light at Nueva Vista Drive and rammed a Toyota SUV passing legally through the intersection.

The force of the crash caused both vehicles to lose control. The Toyota spun 360 degrees before coming to a stop. The occupants, Steven James and Anna Gaffney, were both injured in the crash. Gaffney suffered a fractured collar bone and James suffered severe bruising.

Hall's vehicle allegedly jumped a curb and rolled onto the sidewalk, where he crashed into Steves, 48. At the time of the wreck, Hall was allegedly under the influence of methamphetamine, morphine, Diazepam, Nordiazepam, Alprazolam, Hydroxyalprazolam, Oxazepam, Temazepam, amphetamine and 11-nor-9-carboxy-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (a cannabis byproduct).

He was also on probation for two driving-under-the-influence convictions. In March 2008, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor driving under the influence of drugs for an October 2007 incident. He was sentenced to three years of informal probation and ordered to complete a three-month first-offender alcohol program and Mothers Against Drunk Driving victim impact panel.

Less than two months after being sentenced in that case, Hall was again arrested for driving under the influence in May 2008. Hall pleaded guilty to misdemeanor driving under the influence of alcohol and was sentenced to 90 days in jail, five years of informal probation, and was ordered to complete a 180-day drug and alcohol program and an 18-month multiple offender alcohol program.

"It's a shame, if this is true, that one person's bad choices can bring so much pain to a family and to our community," said Jeanette Krembas, who serves on the city's Traffic Commission and heard testimony from residents following Steves' death.

Woman Behind the Smile

Until Tuesday, authorities have said only that the incidentOn any given week, at least three readers have written to Laguna Niguel Patch asking what the delay has been.

Steves was kneeling on the sidewalk, corralling a dog, when the two SUVs crashed and Hall allegedly hit her, officials reported. 

Since Steves' death, the has looked into residents' concerns about the intersection, but maintained it was safe. the city's traffic engineer said no changes were needed. 

The Traffic Commission voted unanimously to recommend that the City Council increase traffic enforcement in the area and add radar trailers "as time, equipment and personnel permits." The commission also suggested a review of overall traffic conditions on Moulton Parkway, including visibility as motorists turn right onto the street from Nueva Vista when they have a red light.

, asking for some kind of action: "We moved our family here when our kids were babies because it was a safe neighborhood," he said. "They are 14 and 15 years old now, and they don't have a mother."

Traffic Commissioner Jay Greenwood said, "I knew Mara Steves and have friends who were very close to her. A young lady on my club soccer team is Hannah Steves' best friend. This was a tragic accident and it has impacted many lives in our community. We are all saddened by the loss."

For weeks after the accident, to the Rancho Niguel tract in memory of Mara. This was the same spot where the subdivision’s iron letters were torn off the wall from the impact of one of the SUVs.

Months later, the letters have been replaced, the wall painted and repaired, and the decorations are gone. There’s also ” standing tall and proud after being planted by Orange County Fire Authority crews from Station No. 39 in Laguna Niguel. The 6-foot Chinese orchid tree was placed near the site where Steves lost her life. For those who live in the vicinity, it will always be the place where their good friend died.

The Memories Are Still Fresh

Although Mara is gone, memories linger.

Friends Elizabeth von Gremp and where Mara spent much of her time, as well as others in the close-knit Rancho Niguel community still swap stories about her. They talk about her infectious laugh and fun, full-of-life personality.

A popular community member, Steves was a past PTA president, animal lover and frequent shopper at the where the staff knew the native New Yorker by her first name.

have been held in her honor, and a at Bergeson Elementary School by her good friends Tori DeGroote and von Gremp, who put on their gardening clothes and hit the dirt in April to make it happen.

This past weekend, longtime friend held another fundrasiser in Huntington Beach to help Mara's family.

"I miss her every day," Gilmore said days before the event. "We've heard it before -- 'She was someone that lit up a room' -- but she really did."

Friends and family are not the only ones who feel the hole she left behind. People who never knew her or spoke a single word to her say they feel the same sense of loss as those close to her.

"I can't think of anything more sad than to find out that drugs were part of the cause of cutting Mara's life short," Scholl said. "This 27 year old...his life is ruined; Mara's life is ruined; her children and husband's lives are changed forever. Very, very sad."

Tiffany May 27, 2011 at 08:19 PM
@JENNA.. Ok your right Jenna, Poor Adam! Always at the wrong place at the wrong time! Poor guy, was never his fault! been arrested for TWO DUI'S, 1 for drugs 1 for alchahol, posseion of drugs, possesion of para, ossesion of syringe, assault, battery, assault and battery, theft, resisting a police officer, theft, violating house arrest, and MANY driving infractions but your right! Adam is a great guy who just cant catch a break! Poor guy at the wrong place ALL the time!! Someone is dead and you still want to blame everyone but him.. He is going to prison for a very long time and get ready for the truth to come out. GUILTY. Why dont you address the METH???? Hum??? He had meth in his system. That seems to be ok with you? No matter what happens he had meth in his system along with 7 other drugs and an amazing women died, ripped from her family and he is responcible!!! FACT! I do feel for him and your family but you guys have to take some responcibility and stop blaming everyone else!!!
John May 27, 2011 at 11:51 PM
I've known adam since high school. He's had plenty of opportunities to get help and change. Fact is he doesn't think about the consequences of his actions. I know the law quite well as it's required for my job. The police did a fantastic job on their investigation an I guarantee it was accurate. If you want to know all the complete facts, go get a copy if the police report. They are open to the public.
Elizabeth May 28, 2011 at 01:09 AM
@ John you could not have said it more perfect. I know his family is made up of a lot of good people. I think people are forgetting to realize it does not matter he made it through rehab. Anyone can make it through that and return right back to what they knew best...DRUGS! He was an addict and none of the help will help him until he realizes he is an addict and has a problem. @Jenna ...I'm sorry your family member will be in jail but that is where he belongs...the first 2 DUI's he just got lucky and did not hurt anyone. Shame on him for it taking 3 of them to learn, if he has. Dr's don,t give their patient amphetamines lady come on...maybe you are too busy making excuses for him and blaming the wrong people other than the person ultimately responsible...ADAM! To those who keep saying his license should have been taken away...duh...it probably was...come on wake up. People drive everyday without licenses. Plus his DUI arrests were years ago and his license was probably returned. My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims in this tragic accident that should have never happened. Shame on ADAM!
Elizabeth May 28, 2011 at 01:15 AM
@ Jenna....I forgot one more thing...if he had a syringe in his pocket...it was his..come on what world do you live in..do u just hold syringes for your druggy friends! You must live a sheltered life lady...even if they dropped charges it does not mean anything...he probably agreed to work with authorities or something. That happens all the time. Wake up!
Tiffany May 28, 2011 at 06:43 AM
he was released because they were still investigating and he did not test positive for alchahol. drug results take longer to read. there were no charges at that time it was declared "under investigation" some of adams property was held and was notified of the impending investigation. once the lab results, crash scene tests etc, returned, they presented their case to a grand jury who issued the arrest warrant for murder. it is pretty standard and was carried out to the letter of the law.
Kel May 28, 2011 at 08:38 AM
@tiffany. I have not done anything to distort the truth. I have given my opinion. I dont know any facts about the case other then what i have read. I have given my opinion on what i think the flaws are in the justice system. Thank u misunderstanding. On another note your comment about the low levels people will go to. You should really read how ignorant ur comments sound.
Stizz May 29, 2011 at 01:21 AM
I feel bad for the family who lost their wife and mother. I also feel terrible for Adam. I have known him since elementary school and it's so sad to see someone go from a child full of potential to an out of control addict. I do not know all the facts of this case, and I most likely never will, but reading this made my heart ache for Adam. I know he's had a tough life, and has been thorough challenges most 27 year old people never have to go through...I am truly saddened by this tragedy. To cause death to an innocent, beloved women is something he will have to carry with him as long as he lives. I have never actually known, personally, someone (a criminal) in Adam's position. It makes me think about things from a different perspective...it's weird.
Tom Berney May 29, 2011 at 02:07 PM
I'm sure Adam was good person growing up as many addicts are, that's not what people aspire to become, it's a life of inter turmoil that left untreated the ends are always the same, jails, institutions and death. This story has been told countless times and with 7,000,000 prescription drug addicts in the US it will only countinue, most won't or can't admit they have a problem and with the pharmaceuticals that are developed today becoming only stronger, read addict nation.
PC June 02, 2011 at 04:37 PM
Meet Austin Jeffrey Farley, 26, of Irvine who reportedly ran a red light in his Toyota pickup truck about 1:15 Sunday morning at the intersection of Culver Drive and Irvine Repeat DUI offender blamed for teen’s death. Same result as Adam... During a prior DUI conviction, the judge told Farley he could be prosecuted for murder if he killed someone while driving under the influence and that he’d “learned about the dangers of drinking and driving in alcohol awareness courses as a condition of his sentence.” SAD for all.
Debbie L. Sklar (Editor) June 02, 2011 at 04:41 PM
PC: When will it end? Adam Hall arraignment is scheduled for June 9.
PC June 02, 2011 at 05:04 PM
Not sure it will ever end. Austin is claiming he is not guilty! It will end when these people take responsibility for their actions, value their lives and more importantly value the lives of others that they affect.
Luna June 03, 2011 at 06:19 PM
Just FYI, a defendant always pleads not-guilty at an arraignment; if they plead guilty, the judge will change it. He can plead differently at future hearings.
SaRaH :) June 15, 2011 at 02:54 PM
Listen, I know Adam, the past few months before he was arrested we became extremely close friends. I fell completely in love with him with all my heart and I admit that fully but that is not why I chose to defend him. I got to know him on a different level than anyone else since Mara died, GUARANTEED, and you all need to STOP slandering him as a 'monster' .. 'scumbag' .. and especially a 'murderer'!!! He is NOT a monster or a murderer. There are soooo many facts that are not being said, Jenna above is VERYYY right about the story. Half the meds were given to him in the hospital where he was rushed b/c the accident put him into shock, broke his nose, and broke his leg. How is a 200 lb man supposed to control a 20,000 lb SUV when it is literally completely OUT OF CONTROL ??? ALL CONTROL WAS LOST OF THE VEHICLE!!!! He NEVER meant to hit anyone. True, he has had issues with addiction but he was NOT all drugged out that day, he is a very sensible and intelligent person, he was fully functional that morning and going to work. So much more needs to be stated about this incident and it is very sad how Adam is being portrayed! Let me tell you all something, Adam is one of the most amazing people I ever met in my entire life. He has such a loving and caring heart, it is unreal, you all have nooooo idea!!!! We trusted each other with everything and he never once let me down. You all who are passing such extreme judgements DO NOT KNOW HIM. I miss HIM every day! The truth will come out.
Jasson Moore July 22, 2011 at 11:01 PM
I think its sad the family is making excuses and flat out lying that the doctors gave him the drugs after the crash.. first off, thats never done, doctors do not prescribe 7 anti-anxiety meds along with thc, meth, and other stimulants but also heres FACTS. adam was also charged with THREE FELONY counts of forging prescriptions along with murder etc., that means in his possesion the day of the crash he had atleast 3 drugs on him he obtained ilegally by forging a prescription. This is not my opinon, not personal, these are facts!!! I wish the family could be more honest, it only hurts more to hear excuses and see them printed. We could all learn from this if only we could first start to be honest.. he broke many laws and has hurt many people. ADAM HARRISON HALL 1 0 02/13/2011 187(a) PC F Murder 2 0 02/13/2011 23153(a) VC F Driving under influence alcohol/drug with injury 2 1 02/13/2011 12022.7(a) PC F ENH-Inflict Great Bodily Harm 3 0 05/20/2011 11368 HS F Forging or altering prescription 4 0 05/24/2011 11368 HS F Forging or altering prescription 5 0 05/24/2011 4324(a) BP F Forgery of Prescription
Glen Fleetwood July 23, 2011 at 06:38 PM
Hello Debbie; there is no "informal probation" anymore. It is "probation to the court". No reporting to the Prob Department, just stay out of more trouble. If you get arrested again, the court knows and sends the person a letter saying "You have a hearing for violation of probation ("VOP") August 9" or whatever.
Glen Fleetwood July 23, 2011 at 06:39 PM
Tom, follow up to your insight. Amy Winehouse found dead.
Tennickly July 23, 2011 at 07:26 PM
20,000 pound SUV?
Jodi Barber July 24, 2011 at 04:42 PM
I agree with you Beta, as there are many dirty docs overprescribing. This is something officials need to stop and start regulating, but there are other resources to get pills, such as online. They can get pills from their doc as well as from pill mills. Let's not forget from their drug dealers!
Glen Fleetwood July 31, 2011 at 11:56 PM
bull**it. California Police reports are NEVER open to the public and have not been for 8 years. The accident report is, but has nothing about the drivers blood or impairment, or arrst. You are full of malarkey.
Glen Fleetwood August 01, 2011 at 12:18 AM
Lot of bad advice here. Defendants do NOT always plead "not guilty" at their arraignment, and the JUDGE CANNOT change it if they do. Never believe anything you read here. Some people are LUNAtics.
Mike Murphy January 30, 2013 at 08:08 PM
Jenna- Adam was rushed to the hospital after the crash and given morphine and other pain killing drugs? Ok, sounds right. What about the Speed? What about the Meth? What about the THC? What about the Anxiety meds (4 diff kinds) What about the Muscle Relaxers (3 Diff Kinds) What about the Sleeping pills (2 diff kinds) and a few more things? You really think a doctor would prescribe all that? Wow I gotta meet that DR.!
Mike Murphy January 30, 2013 at 08:32 PM
SaRaH, sara, Anonymous, Miss S, pedro, or what ever youre calling yourself today. You partied with adam for a few months and now you think you know him? You understand him? I have known Adam since 7th grade! I can tell you anything you want to know about him. Save your lies and fantasys for someone else, grow up. This a serious case here and the last thing adam needed was some naive young girl like you believing all his BS. Maybe if you and all the other "family" and "friends" who now say how good he was would of got together to help him, to put him in rehab then you could see him today!! Now you want to be captian save-a-ho and save the wounded bird?! Its to late..
Mike Murphy January 30, 2013 at 08:35 PM
yes, in her mind Adam drove a TEN-TON SUV.. We should believe everything else she says to huh??
Gustavo Weekly February 05, 2013 at 04:50 PM
Where is Adams gf now? What does she think about the fact that he manipulated another girl into giving him drugs? She was sentenced to TWO years in prison! I dont see his family caring at all that he ruined her life and family! Read the article in the OC Weekly about why ADAM was at Wallgreens when he was arrested. His family said he was with his step Dad, really? Picking up illegal prescriptions with his Moms boyfriend? Lies, Lies, Lies..
Gustavo Weekly February 05, 2013 at 04:52 PM
Where is Adams gf now? What does she think about the fact that he manipulated another girl into giving him drugs? She was sentenced to TWO years in prison! I dont see his family caring at all that he ruined her life and family! Read the article in the OC Weekly about why ADAM was at Wallgreens when he was arrested. His family said he was with his step Dad, really? Picking up illegal prescriptions with his Moms boyfriend? Lies, Lies, Lies..
Gustavo Weekly February 05, 2013 at 04:54 PM
Where is Adams gf now? What does she think about the fact that he manipulated another girl into giving him drugs? She was sentenced to TWO years in prison! I dont see his family caring at all that he ruined her life and family! Read the article in the OC Weekly about why ADAM was at Wallgreens when he was arrested. His family said he was with his step Dad, really? Picking up illegal prescriptions with his Moms boyfriend? Lies, Lies, Lies..
Sara Brookhaven February 15, 2013 at 02:39 PM
Where are all you Adam supportersnow!! Where are you Jenna, Sara, Miss S!? SO glad I dont have to EVER read your LIES again! GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY!!! Are you gonna tell us to wait for the facts still? That he did NOT run the red light?! GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY!! RIP MARA, Have fun in protective custody dirt bag!! Love the real Sara!!
Sara Brookhaven February 15, 2013 at 02:41 PM
Where are all you Adam supportersnow!! Where are you Jenna, Sara, Miss S!? SO glad I dont have to EVER read your LIES again! GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY!!! Are you gonna tell us to wait for the facts still? That he did NOT run the red light?! GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY!! RIP MARA, Have fun in protective custody dirt bag!! Love the real Sara!!
Sara Brookhaven February 15, 2013 at 02:42 PM
Where are all you Adam supportersnow!! Where are you Jenna, Sara, Miss S!? SO glad I dont have to EVER read your LIES again! GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY!!! Are you gonna tell us to wait for the facts still? That he did NOT run the red light?! GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY!! RIP MARA, Have fun in protective custody dirt bag!! Love the real Sara!!
Sara Brookhaven February 15, 2013 at 02:44 PM
Where are all you Adam supportersnow!! Where are you Jenna, Sara, Miss S!? SO glad I dont have to EVER read your LIES again! GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY!!! Are you gonna tell us to wait for the facts still? That he did NOT run the red light?! GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY!! RIP MARA, Have fun in protective custody dirt bag!! Love the real Sara!!

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