SJC Residents Injured in Deadly PCH Crash

Passenger Erik Ortiz Valencia, 29, of Irvine was killed Sunday afternoon in a four-car crash on Pacific Coast Highway in Laguna Beach.

Three San Juan Capistrano residents were injured in a deadly crash on PCH in Laguna Beach Sunday. Patch file photo.
Three San Juan Capistrano residents were injured in a deadly crash on PCH in Laguna Beach Sunday. Patch file photo.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Originally posted at 12:55 p.m. Jan. 27, 2014.

An investigation was underway today into a four-car crash in Laguna Beach that claimed the life of one man, and left six others injured, police reported.

The deadly crash  occurred about 1:30 p.m. Sunday on North Coast Highway and Irvine Cove Drive. Erik Ortiz Valencia, 29, of Irvine was the passenger in a silver Honda S2000 that lost control and struck a truck, according to a report from the Orange County coroner's office. Valencia was pronounced dead at the scene.

Laguna Beach police Capt. Jason Kravetz said the driver of the Honda was a 27-year-old Mission Viejo resident.
"Because this is an active criminal investigation, the driver's name is not being released because he is a suspect and has not been arrested," Kravetz said.
"Directions of travel and movements are still under investigation."

A Toyota 4Runner was the second car involved in the crash, according to police, and was driven by a 65-year-old Trabuco Canyon man. Although he had complained about pain, he was not transported to a hospital. His passengers, a 60-year-old Trabuco Canyon woman and an 84-year-old New York resident, were both transported to a hospital and later released.

A 24-year-old woman from San Juan Capistrano was driving a GMC Sierra which was also involved in the crash. She was taken to UCI Medical Center with abrasions and later released. The woman's 68-year-old passenger, also from San Juan Capistrano, was transported to Western Medical Center for fractured ribs and a partially collapsed lung. A second passenger, a 65-year-old San Juan Capistrano woman, suffered fractured ribs and was taken to UCI Medical Center. 

Police said a Toyota Camry was also involved in the crash, but did not release any information about the driver or passenger.

North Coast Highway was closed in both directions from about 1:34 p.m. until 11 p.m. Sunday.  

The driver of the S2000, which Kravetz said caused the fatal crash, suffered severe injuries, but was expected to survive. He was transported to Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo.   

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bbq January 27, 2014 at 04:00 PM
As usual the driver who caused the crash survived and killed his friend. When will people learn???????
Donna Fleming January 27, 2014 at 04:41 PM
I was on PCH in Laguna on Saturday and the traffic was terrible. Beautiful weather and lots of people crossing streets and cars everywhere focusing on where to park? It very sad. I wonder if this was just the heavy traffic? Very sad.
Penny Arévalo (Editor) January 27, 2014 at 04:43 PM
Probably. The accident happened at 1:30 p.m.
bbq January 29, 2014 at 05:06 PM
Time of day does not necessarily mean a thing. About a month ago in Capo Beach 2 ppl were killed passing others and causing a head on collision on a Sunday right after noon. Blood alcohol of the driver was about .32. A couple years ago in LN a woman was killed by a driver on a Saturday morning who had all kinds of drugs in his system.This from a Laguna Beach newspaper report: "Police indicated that drugs or alcohol might have played a part in the crash. The OC District Attorney is waiting for toxicological test results before filing any charges. There was also speculation that road rage may have also been involved. Captain Jason Kravetz said preliminary reports indicated that the Honda was traveling northbound on Coast Hwy when the driver swerved into the right lane to pass a Toyota 4-Runner. The Honda moved back into the ‘fast’ lane hitting the front end of the 4-Runner in the process. That sent both vehicles spinning into oncoming traffic in the southbound lanes. The Honda was struck broadside by a GMC Sierra pickup. A Toyota Camry was also involved."


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