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Investigators believe alcohol and speed were factors in the wreck
By Jim Shilander
Four people were killed and a fifth injured in a single car accident early Saturday morning near the corner of South El Camino Real and Avenida Valencia in San Clemente.
Three men and one woman, including the driver of the vehicle, were pronounced dead at the scene, said Lt. Jeff Hallock, spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. Authorities responded to the scene around 1:30 a.m. Saturday.
The driver of the vehicle was identified as Pablo Vargas Diaz, 25, of San Juan Capistrano. Three of the passengers has also been identified as, Martin Nieto, 26, of Laguna Niguel and a 2006 Dana Hills High School graduate; and Lucia Solis, 27, and Luis Olivar, 22, both of San Juan Capistrano.
A 24-year-old female passenger, whose name has not been released, was transported to a local trauma center. She is expected to survive.
Hallock said the investigation is ongoing, but speed and alcohol are believed factors in the crash. It could be weeks until the final investigation report is released, which should include the victims’ toxicology reports, he said.
Don Bolender, the owner of the Christmas tree lot near where the accident took place, and whose fence is now adorned with flowers, photos and candles remembering the victims, said he was sleeping when the crash occurred. When he awoke at 6 a.m., Bolender discovered police had blocked off the street.
Vehicle parts and light pole knocked down by the crash were strewn throughout the tree lot, and bits of glass were found in some trees, he said. The last several days have brought a nearly constant stream of mourners to the site.
One of the victims, Silva, worked as a barber at Señor Barber in San Juan Capistrano. His father, Jose, is an employee at the Mission.
A viewing for Silva was held Thursday at Lesneski Mortuary in San Clemente, according to a post on the Señor Barber Facebook page. A mass will be held Friday, December 13, at 1 p.m., at Mission Basilica Church. A reception will follow and the family has requested mourners not wear black but colorful clothing.
Brian Park contributed to this report.