Two dead, three injured in Coast Highway pileup on Sunday afternoon

Wreckage from a four-car accident on Coast Highway between Beach Road and Camino Capistrano is scattered across the roadway Sunday afternoon. The driver and passenger of the Volkswagen Jetta (seen here) were killed. Photo Courtesy of the Orange County Fire Authority.
Wreckage from a four-car accident on Coast Highway between Beach Road and Camino Capistrano is scattered across the roadway Sunday afternoon. The driver and passenger of the Volkswagen Jetta (seen here) were killed. Photo Courtesy of the Orange County Fire Authority.

By Jim Shilander

Updated on Wednesday, October 15 at 4:00 p.m.

A four-vehicle accident near the intersection of Beach Road and Coast Highway claimed two lives Sunday afternoon, authorities confirmed.

Two vehicles–a  Mini-Cooper driven by a 15-year-old student driver and his instructor, and a Volkswagen Jetta with driven by 43-year-old man and with a 32-year-old–were traveling northbound at approximately 1:20 p.m., said Orange County Sheriff’s Department public information officer Jeff Hallock. The two other vehicles involved, a van and Honda, were traveling southbound.

According to a sheriff’s department Twitter page post on Monday evening, authorities believe alcohol may have been a factor in the accident. Investigators are awaiting toxicology confirmation.

Hallock said a preliminary reconstruction of the accident indicated the Jetta attempted a “passing movement,” putting it in the path of the two other vehicles.

It appeared the worst of the collision occurred between the Jetta and the van, he said.

Authorities currently have no estimation as to the speed the vehicles were traveling at the time of the crash, Hallock said.

Four other injuries resulted from the accident. Two came from the van, one from the Honda, each of whom were taken to medical facilities, authorities confirmed. The student driver was treated by paramedics at the scene and released to parents.

The instructor was unhurt.

There is a no passing zone in the area. Coast Highway, which was closed after the crash, was reopened at approximately 9 p.m.

This is the second fatal accident in the area in 48 hours. A San Clemente man, Paul Michelena, was killed Friday when, as a pedestrian, he was struck by a vehicle in the Ralphs parking lot at El Camino Real and Avenida Barcelona.

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comments (2)

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    slow down!
    October 13, 2013 at 8:10 PM

    I witnessed both these tragedies. Its been a horrible weekend . Why are people in such a hurry. My condolences to all the victims and families. Ive seen enough carnage. Im afraid to go outside.

    Patience, please!!
    October 14, 2013 at 11:47 AM

    This is absolutely tragic. I just missed both of these accidents by minutes this weekend, which I absolutely thank God for being the case. As stated from the comment prior to mine, people need to slow down and be aware of their surroundings!

    Especially on a highway such as PCH.. and don’t even get me started on the Ralph’s parking lot on El Camino Real. It is horrible that because of these totally preventable issues, three lives were taken in San Clemente over the weekend. All of these problems are avoidable, and people just need to have more patience. Saving a few seconds in your day is not worth the loss of life. My heart aches for these victims and their families.

    Vince Angelsberg
    October 14, 2013 at 5:59 PM

    I also witnessed this horrific tragedy yesterday. I was returning home to San Clemente from Dana Point. I actually pulled over just before beach road to speak with my brother on the phone. Then shortly after 1 o’clock I headed south on el camino real. Saw some vehicles slowing up ahead. I figured it was an accident. I didn’t see any emergency services on scene.

    I almost turned around, but then realized that I was in my service vehicle loaded with tools. Thought that I could maybe help extract someone or just help in some way. As I walked south, I realized that there was nothing that I could do.

    Those poor people. It’s very sad. A woman and I said a prayer on scene. I noticed a cell phone in the debris. Instantly thought that might have been the cause. I understand that it is still under investigation.

    Whatever the case. People, please be patient, slow down, and never text and drive. I drove by the scene this morning on my way to work. I counted how many seconds to palisades. 32 seconds. Under a minute until the driver could’ve passed safety. Please pray for the people who lost their lives, and their families. God bless!

    Troy Ross
    October 15, 2013 at 9:15 AM

    I was riding my bicycle in the barricaded bicycle lane at the exact location and time the accident happened. I witnessed the entire horrific accident happen right alongside where I was riding. The white Jetta was speeding at a VERY high rate of speed and was very reckless that caused the accident. I had to skid my bike to avoid the impact and all of the debris flying through the air. It was horrendous to say the least.

    Fortunately, the two people in the van that were hit head on lived and only seemed to have minor abrasions and bruises at the time I assisted them. That van contained a husband and wife and their dog. A lady driving a car that was heading southbound behind the van was also hit head on by the portion of the Jetta after it split apart. She seemed to have an injured arm but nothing life threatening. The student driver and Instructor that were rear ended by the Jetta were unscathed.

    It was absolutely a horrific, brutal scene. I’m curious to know what possesed the male driver of the Jetta to be driving that FAST. Totally uncalled for! End result he killed himself and his wife/girlfriend. And injured 3 others and left many more with mental trauma from witnessign the accdent and the brutal scene.

    Mom that saw
    October 16, 2013 at 1:47 PM

    What I saw:

    I was the car in front of the van, it was a matter of 10 sec, and it could have been me and my 2 boys. I saw the Jetta from in from cut off two cars and came close to taking out two motorcyclist. In return the second motorcyclist flipped the jetta off and the driver in the jetta speed up even faster. The driver in the jetta was the female, she was the one driving the car.

    Then as I see the jetta coming straight toward me I slowed down and maneuvered to the right side. As they passed, I looked into my review mirror and saw the jetta explode into the van and divider. So I am thinking the driver hit the van and went into the divider and exploded.

    Not sure why the sheriffs will not call me back. Now my son has PTSD from seeing what we saw in the mirror. I have trid telling them but since they have specialist who are giving wrong info to the public, I have to speak up. The lady driving just had a baby, think post partum……think alcohol induced psychosis. She loves to drive fast states her Facebook. As proof. God bless her soul, because she has helped many……and no one would help her.

    Thank The Lord no child was in that car, maybe she knew she was not feeling so good that day. Now, I have nightmares, people deserve to know the truth. God was with us that day, and all of those whose lives were spared.

    Vince
    October 16, 2013 at 6:08 PM

    Are you sure that she was driving? I witnessed the scene. Her legs were in the passenger side floor board. I believe that John was the driver.

    Whatever the case, thank God you and your boys weren’t involved in the accident. I was minutes from what could’ve been me in that wreckage. Divine intervention for all of us perhaps.

    I’m definitly effected by what I saw. I will be fine. However the images will be with me for the rest of my life. I’m sad for the whole situation. I find peace with the Lord. God Bless. This tragedy has altered my driving for the better. I drive slower now, and stay off of my phone.

  • I was the driver of the that van three years ago.
    hard to get over this. still very hard when I LET myself think about it.

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