WESTMINSTER – Prosecutors on Monday charged a man with murdering a 12-year-old girl and seriously injuring her brother and mother in a high-speed crash while fleeing police.
Superior Court Judge Thomas Borris appointed the Public Defender’s Office to represent Aleksandar Apostolovic, 26, of Santa Ana, after finding Apostolovic could not afford a lawyer.
A bearded and handcuffed Apostolovic appeared briefly in a mustard-colored Orange County jail outfit at the West Justice Center in Westminster before Borris agreed to continue his arraignment to May 9.
Apostolovic is charged with several felonies, including murder, aggravated assault on a peace officer, and hit-and-run causing death or permanent injury, plus sentencing enhancements for a prior strike conviction for first-degree burglary in 2008 and multiple prison priors.
Vivian Nguyen was killed when authorities say Apostolovic crashed into the mini-van driven by her mother when he fled Thursday afternoon from Westminster officers who tried to pull him over in marked police cars with their lights activated.
Apostolovic is accused of driving a Chevrolet Suburban and crashing into the front of a police car before fleeing. The Suburban later crashed into two vehicles, including one carrying Vivian and her brother, William, 13, who was hospitalized along with their mother, Helen. Both are expected to recover.
Apostolovic fled on foot after the crash and was arrested around midnight Thursday, authorities said.
If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of more than 35 years to life in prison. Bail was set at $1 million.
By VIK JOLLY/ THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
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