Mission Viejo Driver Suspected in Fatal 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. Six other people were also injured.

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

The deadly crash occurred about 1:30 p.m. Sunday on North Coast Highway and Irvine Cove Drive. An unnamed 27-year-old man from Mission Viejo was driving a silver Honda S2000 that lost control and struck a truck, killing Honda passenger Erik Ortiz Valencia, 29, of Irvine, according to a report from the Orange County coroner's office.

The Honda driver suffered severe injuries, but is expected to survive, Laguna Beach police Capt. Jason Kravetz said. He was transported to Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo.

"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.


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