A couple was killed and their three young children were critically injured in a Newport Beach DUI crash that occurred the night of Dec. 8. According to a CBS Los Angeles news report, the fatal crash occurred on Newport Coast Drive, which is a steep roadway that goes by the Pelican Hill Resort. When Newport Beach police officers arrived at the scene, they found a collision involving a Range Rover and a Nissan Versa.
DUI and Murder Charges
Henry Eduardo Saldana-Mejia, 27, and his wife Gabriela Andrade, 29, both occupants of the Nissan Versa, were killed in the crash. The couple’s three children – ages 5, 3 and 1, were in the back seat and were transported to an area hospital in critical condition. The couple was on their way to pick up Saldana-Mejia’s last paycheck at the resort at Pelican Hill where he had recently been working in housekeeping, according to his family members.
Police arrested the driver of the Range Rover, 22-year-old Grace Elizabeth Coleman. Police say she left the scene on foot and was taken into custody a short distance away from the scene of the crash. Coleman, who has a prior DUI conviction, was booked on suspicion of murder, DUI causing bodily injury and hit-and-run resulting in death. A GoFundMe account has been set up to help the family with medical and funeral expenses.
We offer our deepest condolences to the members of Saldana-Mejia and Andrade’s families for their tragic and heartbreaking loss. Our hearts also go out to the three young children who have lost both parents and are in the hospital in critical condition. Please keep this family in your thoughts and prayers.
Justice for DUI Victims
Based on this news report, it appears that the driver of the Range Rover was not only driving under the influence but also left the scene of a fatality that killed two adults and left three young children badly injured. It is illegal under California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (a) to operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. It is also illegal to leave the scene of a fatal or injury crash under California Vehicle Code Section 20001 (a).
In such cases, in addition to facing criminal penalties, DUI drivers can also be held financially responsible for the injuries, damages and losses they cause. Families of deceased victims can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault party seeking compensation for damages such as medical and funeral costs, lost future income, pain and suffering and loss of love, care and companionship. An experienced Newport Beach DUI victims’ lawyer will be able to help families of deceased victims better understand their legal rights and options.