A 20-year-old California woman has been arrested and charged after allegedly fatally running over a man she believed was trying to harm a cat.
According to a statement from the Orange County District Attorney’s office on Wednesday, Hannah Star Esser had been driving around Cypress on Sunday evening when she stopped to confront 43-year-old Luis Anthony Victor after he seemingly attempted to run over a cat in the street. A profanity-laced confrontation immediately broke out between the two in the middle of the road, which authorities say Hannah recorded. At one point, they even stepped out of their vehicles to continue their argument over the accusation that Luis was going to hurt the animal.
The District Attorney claims the woman eventually returned to her car to leave while still arguing with Luis. However, instead of just driving away, she made a three-point turn to come back to the area, “accelerated” towards Luis, and hit him with her vehicle. The statement explained:
“Instead of continuing to drive away from Victor and out of the area, Esser made a 3-point turn and drove back towards Victor in the direction of a cul-de-sac. Esser then made a U-turn, accelerated and drove directly at Victor. Esser is accused of intentionally driving into Victor, striking him with the right front of her car.”
According to the DA, Hannah hit Luis with such force that it hurled him onto her hood and windshield before he then flipped several times and landed on the street. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said of the incident:
“This action showed a complete disregard for human life. The Orange County District Attorney’s Office will ensure that this random act of violence targeting a stranger will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Hannah has since been charged with one felony count of murder and potentially faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison if convicted. Her arraignment is scheduled on October 13, 2022, and she is currently being held on a $1 million bond. And for those who are curious, there has been no reports on what happened to the cat at the center of the argument at this time.
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[Image via Orange County District Attorney]