A 37-year-old Huntington Beach woman was fatally hurt and her husband, son and daughter were injured when their car ran a red light and was struck by a suspected drunk driver, touching off a five-vehicle accident, Huntington Beach police said Sunday.
Two others also were injured in the accident, which occurred shortly before 10 p.m. Saturday at the intersection of Magnolia Street and Adams Avenue.
Chris Lynn Kennelly suffered such major injuries that she was taken by medical helicopter from the accident scene to St. Mary's Hospital in Long Beach, where she died about two hours later, said Sgt. Darrell Klopp.
Son in Critical Condition
Kennelly's son, Kenneth, 14, was taken to Fountain Valley Community Hospital's trauma center, where he underwent surgery for chest, head and internal injuries and was in critical condition. Her husband, Donald Michael Kennelly, 39, was in fair condition Sunday at the Fountain Valley hospital. Their daughter, Karen, 12, was treated at the hospital and released.
Donald Kennelly, driving a 1985 Nissan sedan, was northbound on Magnolia and stopped at Adams for a red light, but for "some unknown reason" proceeded through the intersection, according to a police press release.
The Kennelly car was struck by a 1985 Nissan pickup driven by Tad Michael Palka, 22, of Huntington Beach, who allegedly was driving under the influence of alcohol, "at a high rate of speed" and with a suspended driver's license, Klopp said. Palka, westbound on Adams, braked and tried to avoid the Kennelly car, Klopp said.
The impact caused the Kennelly car to spin out of control, Klopp said. It hit two motorcycles and a Ford Mustang southbound on Magnolia, but the drivers were uninjured, he said. The motorcycles were driven by David Martin and Steven Courtney, and the Mustang was driven by Jayne Moore, ages and addresses unknown, police said.
Truck's Driver Released
Palka, arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor drunk driving, was taken to Pacifica Community Hospital, where he was treated for a cut chin. He later was released from Huntington Beach City Jail on his own recognizance, police said.
Police said a passenger in Palka's car, William Roy Dodge, 20, of Huntington Beach, was taken to Huntington Humana Hospital, suffering neck and back injuries. However, a spokeswomen for the hospital said it had no record of Dodge as a patient.
Huntington Beach Police Sgt. Jerry Evans, a friend of the Kennelly family, Sunday described Chris Kennelly as "an absolutely marvelous person and mother." Donald Kennelly is "a fine, all-American family man who spends a lot of time with his kids," Evans said. "I hate to see this happen to anybody."