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Man Killed in Santa Ana Crash Involving Street-Racing and Driving Under the Influence


Eugene Harbrecht, 67, a longtime editor with the Orange County Register, was killed in Santa Ana car crash, which police say, involved two drivers who were racing on a public roadway, one of them under the influence. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, The crash occurred on the morning of July 30 at the intersection of Bristol Street and Santa Clara Avenue.

Horrific Crash and Fatality

Witnesses told police that a silver BMW sedan and a dark-colored Infiniti sedan were racing at high speeds northbound on Bristol Street. The BMW slammed into a Ford Ranger driven by Harbrecht that was traveling south on Bristol, making a left turn on Santa Ana. The impact pushed the truck about 60 feet into a fence when it began to catch fire. Two neighbors broke the window of the pickup and pulled the victim out of the vehicle.

Harbrecht was transported to an area trauma center where he died from his injuries. The driver of the racing BMW was hospitalized and later identified as 29-year-old Louie Robert Villa. He was arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. The Infiniti involved in the race fled the scene, but thanks to a witness who reported the vehicle’s license plate, police found the car and driver a few hours later. That driver was identified as 24-year-old Ricardo Tolento Navarro. He was booked on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter.

We offer our heartfelt condolences to the family members, friends and colleagues of Eugene Harbrecht. They will be in our thoughts and prayers.

The Menace of Street Racing

Santa Ana police told the Register that they are seeing an uptick in street racing in recent months. This is the second death in the city relating to drag racing in Santa Ana just this year. Police in Southern California has also said they are seeing more drivers racing on public roadways after streets have become relatively empty due to coronavirus lockdowns. Street racing is, of course, against California law. In this particular case, not only were these two men racing on a public roadway in broad daylight, but one of the men was driving under the influence.

In such cases where negligence and wrongdoing are involved, families of deceased victims may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault parties seeking compensation for damages such as medical expenses, funeral costs, lost future income, pain and suffering, and loss of love, care and companionship. An experienced Santa Ana car accident lawyer will be able to help victims’ families in such cases navigate a complex legal process while securing compensation and holding the wrongdoers accountable.



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