UPDATED: Suspected DUI Driver Goes on Accident Spree in Lake Forest

Driver leaves in his wake carnage of metal.

The scene of the second crash site along Los Aliso Boulevard near Heroes Park. Photo courtesy of Jim Mawson.
The scene of the second crash site along Los Aliso Boulevard near Heroes Park. Photo courtesy of Jim Mawson.

Originally posted at 6:14 p.m. Feb. 22, 2014. Edited at 8:29 p.m. to add more details, photos. Edited at 11:47 p.m. with the suspect's name. Edited at 10:53 a.m. Feb. 23, 2014 to add more photos. 

A driver suspected of DUI went on an accident spree around 2 p.m. today through the streets of Lake Forest, ultimately involving eight vehicles and sending three -- including the alleged culprit -- to the hospital. 

The streets were particularly packed with cars and residents at the second accident scene, near Heroes Park, where it was opening ceremony for Little League, said Capt. Steve Concialdi of the Orange County Fire Authority. 

The first crash was a hit-and-run involving a Volkswagen SUV on El Toro Road near the I-5 Freeway, said Lt. Paul Fuzzard of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

The driver – Joseph Paxton, 35, residence unknown – made his way to Los Alisos Boulevard, where he careened over the median between Muirlands Boulevard and Jeronimo Road, and hit a “couple of more cars,” he said.

Other cars crashed trying to avoid him, Fuzzard said.

The driver then returned to the eastbound side of Los Alisos and rolled his vehicle, Fuzzard said. Altogether, there were seven vehicles involved in the second series of crashes.

Two people, a man and a woman, were sent to the hospital, Fuzzard said.

Concialdi said one of those injured was a 47-year-old father, who had just left the ballfield with his 5-year-old son playing his first season in Little League. The man suffered a hand laceration and other injuries. He was taken to Western Medical Center in Santa Ana. 

A 58-year-old woman was taken to Mission Hospital's trauma center with chest injuries and injuries to a wrist and arm, Concialidi said.

The suspect was also taken to the hospital for observation, Fuzzard added.

Fuzzard said the victims were fortunate to have escaped with only moderate injuries.

“We were lucky. Everyone was very lucky,” he said. 

City News Service contributed to this report.

Sandi February 23, 2014 at 09:55 PM
I was there watching my son's AAA game on the AAA field, heard everything, saw the car fly into the air (saw the bumper fly off and all sorts of debris) and was thankful there were parked cars to block him from coming down the embankment to the sidewalk where several people (including my younger child and her friends play) and onto the field where the soccer players are... the bumper could have severed someone's head. Meanwhile, I immediately began praying to God that everyone was okay as people went up the embankment to investigate. I was fearful that more families were returning back to their cars at the time of impact and severely injured. My friend was parked there, and I had to drive them home until everything was cleared. SO, what I don't understand are these odd comments on this board. There are (5) responses that are just lame, or don't make any sense, or don't pertain to the subject. This is serious! It was a horrific accident that only, by God's grace, there were no fatalities. My 8 year old, is still a little freaked over what happened. Eric, I hope your friend is okay and the little one is able to bounce back from this (mentally) and play some good T-ball. I hope the lacerations haven't severed and/or created permanent damage.
Byrom Zuniga February 24, 2014 at 10:35 AM
yes that is the Joe Paxton in the Linkedin page attached. I was at the scene and ran up as soon as I heard the crash and saw his jeep airborne.... Makes sense why there was an amplifier that has been projected from the back of his car and lodged just between the two front seats. My first thought was that Paxton was drunk based upon his body language but I thought there was a chance he might have simply been in shock or disoriented because it looked like the amplifier that projected forward might have hit him in the head. Too bad it didn't hit hard enough. I hope this guy goes away for longer than a quick vaca to county.
mOmO123 February 24, 2014 at 10:55 AM
That is so SCARY! we had just left opening day not even 30min before this happened. prayers to all those injured. Lets hope this genius gets the book thrown at him instead of walking away with an ankle bracelet and a breathalyzer in his car. there were so many people coming and going on that street Saturday its amazing no one was killed.
Michael Nelson February 26, 2014 at 12:45 PM
I am the 47 year old with the 5 year old. Thank you all for your well wishes. My son and I are recovering. We are very, very blessed. I'm not sure what was going through Joe's mind, but I'm sure it was heavy. Although he caused this, I can't help but hope he and his family come out of this in a positive way eventually. Hopefully, we can all use this as a reason to be more careful when we choose to drink and NOT drive. There are so many options to get home safely- this type of tragedy is so not necessary. Believe it or not, this has been a blessing for me as my family and friends have risen to the occasion to take care of us. It has brought us all closer.
Penny Arévalo February 26, 2014 at 12:47 PM
Thanks, Michael, for posting. So glad to hear you and your son are on the road to recovery. You have a great attitude!


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