Man Charged With DUI in Fairfax Hit-And-Run Crash That Cost Actor Both His Legs

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Obi Ndefo tests his new high-tech prosthetic legs at the Hanger Clinic in Los Angeles in this undated photo.(Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

Obi Ndefo tests his new high-tech prosthetic legs at the Hanger Clinic in Los Angeles in this undated photo.(Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

A man was charged with DUI in a hit-and-run crash that cost a 47-year-old actor both his legs in Fairfax last year, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said Friday.

Actor Obi Ndefo, of “Dawson’s Creek” and “Stargate SG-1,” had just finished teaching a yoga class and was standing behind his parked car near Erewhon Market in the 7600 block of Beverly Boulevard on Aug. 17, 2019, when 25-year-old John Michael Maese slammed his vehicle into him and fled the scene, according to family and the DA’s office.

One of his legs was severed upon impact and the other was shattered and had to be amputated, according to a GoFundMe page set up to raise $268,000 to cover the costs of new prosthetic legs, surgeries and making Ndefo’s home wheelchair accessible.

Surgeons called Ndefo’s survival a “miracle,” according to the page.

Maese was arrested a day later and held on $160,000 bail, county inmate records show.

He faces one felony count each of driving under the influence of an alcoholic beverage causing injury, driving with a .08% blood alcohol content causing injury and a hit-and-run resulting in injury to another person, according to a DA’s news release.

Maese had previously been convicted of DUI for an unrelated case and now also faces one misdemeanor count of driving when privilege suspended or revoked for a driving under the influence conviction. He could get more than seven years in state prison, according to the DA’s office.

Ndefo has spent the past seven months painfully working on his recovery from the devastating injury as he has prosthetic legs shaped and fine-tuned for him, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“Obi pulled from deep within his soul, to not only stay alive, opting for natural foods, breathing, and early exercise of his upper body, miraculously untouched… but to rise emotionally and spiritually to be an inspiration to everyone within the hospital,” his mother wrote on the fundraiser page. “Even through the surgeries, Obi managed to smile and share positivity with everyone with whom he came in contact.”

The collision remains under investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department and Maese’s arraignment is scheduled for later Friday.

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