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By Jim Shilander

Fourth of July celebrations in San Clemente and Dana Point were marred by a pair of accidents Thursday.

A 76-year old woman, Marthann Demchuk of Monrovia, was killed in a hit-and-run incident Thursday night just south of the intersection of Camino Capistrano and Coast Highway, near the Shorecliffs Beach Club in San Clemente, authorities said.

According to Lt. Steve Gil of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Demchuck was walking with her 13-year-old grandson northbound along Coast Highway in the bicycle lane when the two were struck by a van driven by 45-year-old Kelly Michelle Wolfe of Dana Point.

Wolfe allegedly continued driving and a witness followed her to her home, where she was detained by deputies a few minutes after the accident occurred. Wolfe was investigated for both driving under the influence and for hit-and-run. No charges have been filed as the investigation is ongoing.

Demchuk was pronounced dead at the scene. Her grandson was treated at the scene for minor injuries and not hospitalized. PCH was closed following the incident and reopened around 1:15 a.m. Friday.

In an unrelated incident in Dana Point Thursday, just before 9 a.m., a motorcyclist, identified as 23-year-old Steven Drubich of San Clemente, was critically injured following a collision with a van. Drubich was traveling northbound on Pacific Coast Highway when the van, which was traveling southbound, made a left turn onto Selva Road and into the path of the motorcycle. The motorcyclist was transported to Mission Hospital in critical condition, but Gil said he is expected to survive.

The driver of the van, 18-year-old Taylor Carol, of Dana Point, was uninjured. No arrest has been made and the investigation is ongoing, Gil said.

In a third incident, in Laguna Niguel, a 58-year old woman was killed and her 61-year-old husband injured when they were struck by a driver while walking their dogs on a sidewalk. The incident, also unrelated, took place about 10 minutes after the Dana Point incident.

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comments (1)

  • Pedestrian and motorcycle accidents are, unfortunately, more frequent in these summer months along the PCH and other busy roadways. The left hand turn scenario into the path of a motorcyclist is one of the most common types of motorcycle collisions.

    The operative vehicle code section is California V.C. 21801, which states: “The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left or to complete a U-turn upon a highway, or to turn left into public or private property, or an alley, shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles approaching from the opposite direction which are close enough to constitute a hazard at any time during the turning movement, and shall continue to yield the right-of-way to the approaching vehicles until the left turn or U-turn can be made with reasonable safety.”

    Let this be a lesson to all of us to “look twice” for pedestrians, bicycles, and motorcycles this summer!! Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families!

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