Patch Exclusive Video: Ill-Fated Friends Just Hours Before Death

Five friends went to OC Tavern, enjoying karaoke and pool the night before a crash claimed the lives of four of them.

Martin Junior Nieto dancing at OC Tavern in San Clemente Friday night, just two hours before he and three others died in a horrible car crash. Video screen shot.
Martin Junior Nieto dancing at OC Tavern in San Clemente Friday night, just two hours before he and three others died in a horrible car crash. Video screen shot.

Originally posted at 1:01 p.m. Dec. 9, 2013.

Editor's Note: This article was updated to add that approximately two hours elapsed between the time the victims left the OC Tavern and the time of the accident.

Just two hours before five friends met a horrible fate, they were at OC Tavern, dancing, singing karaoke and shooting pool. Patch gained exclusive access to this admittedly grainy video.

Doug Pemberton helps run karaoke night each Friday at the bar and concert venue. It was an exceptionally slow night, so when five friends came in together on Friday, he noticed.

“We chatted a little, but mostly with J.R. (Martin Junior Nieto),” Pemberton said. Nieto danced with one of the female friends while Pablo Vargas Diaz and Luis Silva Olivar shot pool in the next room.

“They were all very friendly. I didn’t get the impression they were too inebriated. They seemed like total working professionals,” Pemberton said.

One thing he does remember is Nieto not wanting to leave. He lost that argument, and the fivesome left.

Approximately two hours later, after one more stop, the friends were riding in a white BMW southbound on El Camino Real. Sheriff’s officials said the car was moving at a high rate of speed when around 1:30 a.m. it struck two light poles and a palm tree.

The car split into two.

Gone were Nieto, 26 of Laguna Niguel, Vargas, 25, of San Juan Capistrano, Silva, 22 of San Juan Capistrano, and Lucia Garcia Solis.

A fifth friend, a woman CBS2 has identified as Josephine Garcia of San Clemente, survived the accident and has been hospitalized.

Video taken by Gary Dubnicka of Temecula.

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Donna Fleming December 09, 2013 at 03:54 PM
Life is so fragile. That was very sad.
shelly December 09, 2013 at 08:00 PM
I did not watch the video because it seems so intrusive and too soon. This just seems so insensitive to the families of these young people. So tragic for their loss.
Penny Arévalo (Editor) December 09, 2013 at 08:03 PM
There's nothing torrid. Just dancing and playing pool (it's pretty hard to see, too). After covering these kinds of stories for more than two decades, I realize that everyone grieves differently. Personally, if it were my child, I'd want to see every glimpse I could. However, I understand and respect alternative viewpoints.
Mechelle Lawrence Adams December 10, 2013 at 11:38 AM
That's an interesting perspective. As a mother of three I would probably appreciate being given the video as opposed to having my deceased child posted on a website to generate traffic to a website. By the way, the victim's father works at the Mission, and our team of facilties and guest services men all got their hair cut from him - Luis Silva. Our team is devastated and no on here thinks the posting of the video of Luis dancing is productive. It's sad, it's tragic and there are real people affected by this horrible accident.
Penny Arévalo (Editor) December 10, 2013 at 11:42 AM
My condolences on the loss and the very real pain of it. I did get a message to the Silva family through a friend about the video before posting. God bless.
Smokey Bear December 30, 2013 at 04:10 PM
Mechelle, while this is a very upsetting/sad article, it is news & as a citizen & patron of OC Tavern, I would want to hear the news. The video is grainy & you can't see anything, there is nothing offensive that Penny has done. She is a very dedicated person to the Patch & have never seen her exploit any situation. Maybe they should not have driven recklessly, but they are young & even if they were or were not drunk, this is still a tragedy & still news that maybe other young people should read so that they will not drive recklessly.


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