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

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- The driver accused of running down two men on a popular trail near Cupertino on Tuesday has now been formally charged with murder with the use of a deadly weapon, as well as premeditated attempted murder and resisting an officer.

"This does appear to be an intentional act... not an accident," said Sgt. Michael Low, spokesman for the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office.

Prosecutors believe Mireya Orta, 50, is responsible for the deadly rampage at the Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve and County Park.

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

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.

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.

"One of our responding deputies happened to catch her right as she was about to exit, at which point she made a U-turn, and she rammed one of the other deputies that was following her," Low added.

ABC7 News went to Orta's home in Santa Clara where a neighbor said she had lived alone for the past year. He says police have conducted multiple welfare checks there in recent months.

Authorities do not believe the suspect had any relation to the victims, who appear to have been attacked at random.

"That park is frequented by a lot of families, children, hikers... so just really be aware of your surroundings and be safe," said Low.

Orta is due back in court Friday for her arraignment. She is currently being held without bail at the Main Jail in San Jose.

The identity of the man who died has not been released by the coroner's office, pending next of kin notification.

Editor's Note: Sheriff's officials clarified on Oct. 4 that only one person was struck in the incident. Go here for the report from that day.
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