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Two Killed in Laguna Beach Car Crash


Two men, identified as 38-year-old Armando Garcia-Gonzales and Alberto Casique-Salinas, 47, were killed in a Laguna Beach car crash after their vehicle was struck by another car that veered into opposing lanes of traffic.

According to a news report in The Laguna Beach Patch, the fatal collision occurred early morning April 2, 2013 on Laguna Canyon Road between El Toro Road and the 73 toll road. Police say based on preliminary investigations that a northbound Tesla driven by Robert Pettis, veered into oncoming traffic and collided head on with the Honda Accord carrying the two victims. Both men died at the scene and Pettis was transported to an area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

CBS Los Angeles reports that police are also looking for a “mystery driver” who may have been involved in the crash. Detectives believe another car may have played a role in the collision, but are not providing any further details. They say it appears that a third vehicle was involved, but that the level of its involvement is not yet known.

Car Crash Statistics

There were two fatalities and 139 injuries reported as a result of car crashes in Laguna Beach, according to California Highway Patrol’s 2010 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS). Also, during the same year, 100 fatalities and 13,368 injuries were reported due to traffic collisions in Orange County.

Head-On Collision

Based on this news report, it appears that the Tesla electric vehicle veered into opposing traffic lanes and collided head on with the Honda Accord. California Vehicle Code section 21651 (a) states: “Whenever a highway has been divided into two or more roadways by means of intermittent barriers or by means of a dividing section of not less than two feet in width, either unpaved or delineated by curbs, double-parallel lines, or other markings on the roadway, it is unlawful…to drive any vehicle over, upon, or across the dividing section.”

Fault and Liability

However, officials are also looking into the possibility of a third car being involved. There are still several questions. What was the level of involvement of that third car? Did the driver of that car cut off the Tesla causing its driver to lose control? Was this a non-contact hit-and-run? I trust officials are looking into these and other issues in order to determine precisely what occurred here.

In such cases, families of deceased victims would be well advised to contact an experienced Orange County personal injury lawyer who will stay abreast of the official investigation and ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected. Where negligence or wrongdoing is involved, families of deceased victims can seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, funeral costs, lost future income and benefits and loss of love and companionship.

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