Officials identify victim in fatal hit-and-run at open space preserve near Cupertino

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- Officials have identified the victim who was killed in a hit-and-run earlier this week on a popular trail near Cupertino.

Lawrence Lupash, 77, of Sunnyvale, was killed in Tuesday's hit-and-run at the Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve and County Park, according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office.

RELATED: 1 killed, driver arrested on suspicion of murder after hit-and-run at Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve near Cupertino

Prosecutors believe Mireya Orta, 50, of Santa Clara, randomly targeted two men in different parts of the park. She has since been formally charged with murder with the use of a deadly weapon, as well as premeditated attempted murder and resisting an officer.

"I don't get why someone would just want to repeatedly hit somebody, over and over for no reason. He was just walking... he didn't do anything wrong," said Michelle Andrews, Lupash's long-time neighbor. "He was really respectful."

According to court documents, Orta drove her Audi A5 sedan onto the Permanente Creek Trail where she hit a man with her car, intentionally reversed, and then drove back and forth over his body multiple times, as seen by a witness and a park ranger.

"What you will see the defense do is build a complete psychiatric profile of Ms. Orta to find out what was going through her mind during this incident," says South Bay legal analyst and former prosecutor Stephen Clark. "They will reverse engineer her mental health history, to look into whether she has any serious mental health disorders, or whether there was something that caused her to act this way."

RELATED: Sheriff: Fatal hit-and-run in Cupertino park was 'intentional, random'

Investigators say Orta fled the first scene and then drove erratically throughout the park. She allegedly tried to hit another man walking on the trail. He dove to the ground to avoid getting hit and then took cover behind an oak tree.

"The Santa Clara County DA's office will ensure that Miss Orta is held accountable to the full extent of the law," said Deputy District Attorney Alaleh Kainerci. "We will ensure that the victim's family receives justice in this case."

Orta appeared in court Friday for her arraignment and was denied bail by the judge. She is currently being held at the Main Jail in San Jose.
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