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4 Die During Bloody Night on County Roads

Accidents: Seven others also hurt in the 3 unrelated crashes. Two of the dead were Sunny Hills students en route to a homecoming dance.

October 07, 1996|LEN HALL | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Four people, two of them Fullerton high school students, died and seven others were injured in a bloody six-hour period between Saturday night and Sunday morning on Orange County roads, authorities said.

The Sunny Hills High School students apparently were on their way to a homecoming dance when they were killed.

The car they were in careened out of control at high speed on the northbound Santa Ana Freeway just north of Euclid Street about 8:45 p.m. Saturday in Anaheim, a California Highway Patrol officer said.

The 17-year-old driver, whose name was not released Sunday, had been swerving between the two center lanes on the freeway at 90 to 110 mph and lost control when he braked for slower traffic, officials said. The car struck a guardrail and flipped, landing on its roof against a tree.

One of the passengers, Sang Wan Park, 16, was partially thrown out of the right rear passenger seat and was dead at the scene, said Bill King of the Orange County coroner's office.

A 15-year-old girl, Tracy Lee, who was seated behind the driver and not wearing a seat belt or shoulder harness, was taken to UCI Medical Center where she died, King said.

The driver and another 15-year-old girl were also taken to UCI Medical Center. The driver's injuries were considered major, while the girl's were said to be minor, officials said.

Officials said the driver and the injured girl were wearing shoulder and lap harnesses.

Ron Anderson, an assistant to the superintendent of the Fullerton Union High School District, said Sunny Hills High School had its homecoming football game Friday night against Mission Viejo High, followed by a dance Saturday night at the school gym.

The four students had purchased tickets to the dance, and it was assumed they were on their way there when the accident occurred, a school official said.

Anderson said a crisis intervention team was assembled Sunday and psychologists and counselors would be available for students at Sunny Hills today.

"The school principal will be communicating with all the students," Anderson said. "This is a horrible tragedy."

Loring Davies, the principal of the 2,100-student school, said he would make an announcement regarding the accident today to employees and students.

"Any homework, lessons and school activities will be placed on the back burner for a couple of days so we can provide assistance to any students and staff who need it," said Davies.

Virginia Han of Fullerton, president of the Korean Parent Support Group, said Park was a junior and Lee was a sophomore. Park's family, who live in Korea, was scheduled to fly to the United States Sunday afternoon, Han said.

In in unrelated crash, Jose Edgar Mendez, 19, of Costa Mesa was killed at about 12:15 a.m. Sunday at Willits and Bristol streets in Santa Ana.

Lt. Dave Petko of the Santa Ana Police Department said Hector Manual Navarro, 21, of Santa Ana, ran a red light and collided with Mendez's car. Three people in Mendez's car were treated for injuries.

Navarro was taken to an unnamed local hospital were he was treated and turned over to the Orange County Sheriff's Department. Navarro was arrested on suspicion of felony drunken driving and driving with a suspended license, Petko said.

And a Yorba Linda man was killed in Brea early Sunday when the car he was riding in crashed into a traffic signal pole at Imperial Highway and West Valencia Street, Brea police said.

The victim, Kenneth Anthony Womack, 32, was one of three people riding in a late-model sedan that hit the pole at 2:02 a.m., police said. Paramedics had to cut the driver, Eddie Lee Williams of Lynwood, and another passenger, Russell MacGregor, out of the car using the Jaws of Life.

Womack was dead at the scene, King said. Williams was arrested on suspicion of gross vehicular negligence and felony drunk driving and booked into the jail ward at Western Medical Center-Santa Ana, police said.

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