A Sunset Beach man was arrested on suspicion of DUI after a multi-vehicle traffic crash in Huntington Beach left two people dead on Tuesday evening, Jan. 19.
35-year-old Eric Kinser was transported to UCI Medical Center for treatment and arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, the Huntington Beach Police Department said in a statement.
At 6:45 p.m., police responded to reports of a multi-vehicle collision in the area of Pacific Coast Highway and Warner Avenue. Three vehicles with extensive damage were found in the southbound lanes of PCH.
After a preliminary investigation, it was determined that Kinser drove a white 2007 Dodge Ram pickup truck north on PCH and crossed over the center median into southbound lanes of traffic, police said. He collided head-on with a silver 1999 Toyota Solara, driven by a 19-year-old man from Newport Beach; and a white 2012 Lexus RX350, driven by a 71-year old woman from Huntington Beach, the Police Department said.
The driver of the Lexus was pronounced deceased at the scene and the driver of the Toyota was transported to UCI Medical Center, where he later succumbed to his injuries, police said. A 45-year old female passenger in the Lexus was transported to OC Global Medical Center with moderate injuries.
Anyone with information about the crash was asked to contact Huntington Beach Police Traffic Investigator D. Demetre at 714-536-5670.
Bernardo Alvarez Zalpa admitted felony counts of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated without gross negligence, hit-and-run with permanent and serious injury, driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury and driving with a blood-alcohol level higher than .08% or more causing injury.
He also admitted sentencing enhancements for fleeing the scene of a vehicular manslaughter and inflicting great bodily injury on the victim.
Zalpa was driving the evening of Dec. 4, 2018, south in the fast lane of the 55 Freeway, just north of Del Mar Avenue, when his 2002 Honda Accord veered across the freeway and crashed into a 2017 Mini Cooper just after 6 p.m., according to the California Highway Patrol. The Honda then crashed into a 1997 Toyota 4Runner. The 4Runner overturned, ejecting 48-year-old Jose Olguin of Orange, who was pronounced dead at the scene.
The Accord veered back onto the freeway before the driver exited at Victoria Street, where Costa Mesa police detained him until CHP officers arrived.
The driver of the Mini Cooper, a 41-year-old San Clemente man, escaped injury.
A Seal Beach police officer was hospitalized Saturday after a suspected drunken driver slammed into the officer’s patrol vehicle during a traffic stop, authorities said.
The officer had pulled over another vehicle in the area of Pacific Coast Highway and Mariner Drive about 3:15 p.m., said the Seal Beach Police Department in a news release. Sometime during the traffic stop while the officer was standing next to his parked vehicle, a Ford F-150 pickup truck rear-ended the officer’s patrol car, knocking him to the ground.
A volunteer with the police department had been driving by and witnessed the crash. The volunteer ran over to aid the officer and alerted authorities, police said.
Paramedics transported the officer to a local hospital with moderate injuries, police said.
Soon after the crash, the driver of the F-150 lost control of the truck and hit a wall, police said. The driver attempted to run away, but was taken into custody by Huntington Beach police. The driver was not injured in the crash.
Authorities later identified the driver of the F-150 as Kenneth Jacob Lopez, 30, of Huntington Beach, who was arrested on suspicion of felony hit-and-run and felony driving under the influence.
A pedestrian who was more than eight months pregnant was killed in a crash in Anaheim on Tuesday night, Aug. 11 and another woman was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.
The victim was walking on the sidewalk with her husband at about 7:36 p.m. when a Jeep jumped the curb on Katella Avenue, drove along the sidewalk for about 300 feet and struck her, police said. The jeep then crossed Bayless Street and crashed in front of a car wash.
The woman’s husband attempted to perform CPR before she was taken to UC Irvine Medical Center, where she died, Anaheim Police Sgt. Shane Carringer said.
The 23-year-old Anaheim resident was in her eighth month of pregnancy, he said. The baby was hospitalized in a neonatal intensive care unit as of 10:45 p.m. The mother’s identity was not immediately released.
David Orozco told a videographer at the scene he was in the area when he heard a loud boom and saw an SUV speeding past. He rushed to the scene of the collision and saw a woman lying on the ground with injuries to her head.
“It looked like she wasn’t breathing anymore,” Orozco said. “The husband was checking the pulse, and when he did check, he screamed.”
The 40-year-old woman behind the wheel of the SUV suffered minor injuries and was hospitalized, Carringer said. Investigators believe she may have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the crash. She was arrested and her booking was pending her release from medical treatment.
This is now a fatal traffic collision. An adult female pedestrian was killed in the collision.
SANTA ANA — A high-speed pursuit of a suspected drunken driver in a full-size pickup truck that traveled along at least two Orange County freeways ended Tuesday night with the driver surrendering to authorities in Santa Ana.
Officers responded to a suspicious vehicle call in a parking lot in the 5700 block of La Palma Avenue, just east of Imperial Highway, about 9:20 p.m., and the driver rammed into at least one of the officers’ vehicles, then fled, prompting the pursuit, according to the Anaheim Police Department.
The suspect drove at speeds mostly in the 80s and briefly topped 100 mph while traveling on the southbound Orange (57) Freeway and eastbound and the westbound Garden Grove (22) Freeway.
The driver exited the eastbound Garden Grove Freeway at Grand Avenue about 10:20 p.m. and pulled into a gated apartment complex, stopped the vehicle, stepped out and surrendered to officers. He was quickly taken into custody.
A woman was fatally injured Wednesday afternoon in a three-vehicle crash that Garden Grove police investigators said involved an impaired driver.
Police in a news release said it happened at 1:30 p.m. at the intersection of Chapman Avenue and Euclid Street, where a white 2017 Honda hit a vehicle that was stopped for a red light. The collision caused the second vehicle to collide into a third vehicle.
A 59-year-old woman driving the vehicle initially hit by the Honda was found by emergency responders to be unconscious and not breathing. She was taken to UCI Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead, police said.
The Honda driver, described as a man, 27, was also hospitalized for injuries sustained in the crash. He was later arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and released to the care of a hospital because of his injuries.
Authorities did not immediately identify the suspected DUI driver or the woman who died.
No one in the third involved vehicle required medical attention.
Anyone who witnessed the crash was asked to contact Garden Grove Police Department traffic investigator Officer Paul Ashby at (714) 741-5823.
Melvin Cleveland Branch, who turned 30 on New Year’s Eve 2018, overdosed on fentanyl on Dec. 29, according to court records.
The former Maryland resident, who lived in Orange at the time of the crash, was charged in January 2019 with two counts of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and one count each of driving under the influence of alcohol causing bodily injury and driving with a blood alcohol of .08 percent or more causing bodily injury — all felonies — and one misdemeanor count each of resisting/obstructing an officer and assault on a peace officer.
Branch had also faced sentencing enhancement allegations of causing bodily injury and death to multiple victims and fleeing the scene of a crime. He would have faced a maximum sentence of 20 years and eight months in state prison if convicted.
In video footage of Branch’s arrest, aired in news reports, he could be seen struggling with officers.
Branch’s attorney, Mark Fredrick was not immediately available for comment on Tuesday, but previously told reporters that Branch had never had any run-ins with the law before and was “extremely scared” at the time.
Fredrick said when his client learned of the charges, he “insisted on turning himself in as early as possible” and had “expressed nothing but total sadness” about the victims.
He said Branch, a cable installer, did not learn anyone was hurt in the 12:50 a.m. crash until he was in the police station following his arrest.
Killed in the collision on the Garden Grove (22) Freeway east of Valley View Street were 33-year-old Jolene Gardner and her 9-year-old daughter Payton Castillo, who were on their way home to Hawthorne from a New Year’s Eve gathering at the time, according to a GoFundMe fundraising page set up to help their family.
The girl died at the scene and her mother was pronounced dead at UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange about an hour after the crash.
Branch was driving a BMW on the freeway east of Springdale Street at an “extremely high rate of speed” in the HOV lane when he rear-ended a Lexus multiple times, causing the driver to lose control and slam into the right shoulder sound barrier wall, the CHP reported.
The Lexus driver escaped injury, but Branch then rear-ended Gardner’s 2010 Ford F-150 pickup truck, which rolled over onto its right side and skidded across the freeway into a 2003 Mazda 3 and then struck a guardrail bordering the right shoulder, the CHP reported. The Mazda driver also escaped injury.
Goncalves-Lins was driving a 2014 Toyota Corolla south on the freeway when he veered to the right and crashed into the back of a tow truck parked on the right shoulder just south of Diamond Bar Boulevard shortly before 3 a.m., according to the California Highway Patrol. About a minute later, Delavega’s Toyota Tacoma struck the Corolla, and both the driver and passenger were thrown onto the freeway, a CHP spokesman said.
Delavega, who suffered fractured ribs and bruises to his chest, was arrested at the scene.
SANTA ANA — A Long Beach man pleaded guilty and was immediately sentenced Friday to 30 years in prison for a methamphetamine-fueled crash in a stolen vehicle that killed a Montana man and critically injured another victim in Fullerton.
Randy Lamar Wilkins, 40, also pleaded guilty to bringing methamphetamine into the Fullerton jail following his arrest.
Wilkins admitted a felony count each of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving under the influence of a drug causing injury, buying or receiving a stolen vehicle and smuggling a drug into a jail, along with a misdemeanor count of driving on a suspended license, with a sentencing enhancement for inflicting great bodily injury on the victim who survived.
The crash occurred at 9:51 a.m. April 1 in front of Charlie’s Best restaurant at the intersection of Euclid Street and Valencia Drive.
Police said the driver of a stolen Toyota Highlander T-boned a Honda Accord, killing 44-year-old Bryan Tyler Kirst of Missoula, who was a passenger in the Honda, whose driver was hospitalized with “significant but non-life-threatening injuries.”
Fullerton police Lt. Jon Radus said police were initially called at 9:38 a.m. regarding a reckless driver at Orangethorpe Avenue and Brookhurst Road, but before officers arrived, they were notified about a driver “acting erratically” at Brookhurst and Valencia. The crash occurred minutes later.
Wilkins was speeding eastbound on Valencia before broadsiding the Accord, Radus said. The Highlander was reported stolen out of Long Beach, he said.