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Orange County

Departing Rains Trigger Car's Plunge Off Bridge

Crash leaves an Irvine woman hospitalized. And the victim of a Tuesday crash dies.

February 27, 2003|David Haldane | Times Staff Writer

The rain waned considerably in Orange County on Wednesday, but not before a car skidded off a bridge in Irvine, seriously injuring its driver.

Mandy A. Harris, 20, of Irvine was taken to Western Medical Center-Santa Ana in critical condition after the 7:30 a.m. accident on the northbound transition from MacArthur Boulevard to the Corona del Mar Freeeway.

"She was going about 65 mph and lost control in the heavy downpour," said California Highway Patrol Officer David Ferrer.

Harris' 1985 Corvette then "slid to the right," Ferrer said, "went down the top of the bridge railing about 100 feet, rotated over the top and overturned onto MacArthur Boulevard 30 feet below."

At another hospital, meanwhile, the victim of a rain-related accident Tuesday died of his injuries.

Richard Lavigne, 58, of Dana Point died at Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center in Mission Viejo after his car careened into an SUV that had slid across the San Diego Freeway near Lake Forest Drive and hit a barrier in the rain.

The rainfall was sparse across most of the county early Wednesday, ranging from 0.01 inch in Anaheim to 0.24 inch at John Wayne Airport.

The only exceptions were in South County, where about 0.9 inch fell in San Juan Canyon just east of San Juan Capistrano.

"It also rained south of Irvine, and Dana Point had quite a bit," said Miguel Miller, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. "Other than that, the 24-hour totals were rather unimpressive."

Miller said there is a chance of more rain this morning, with mostly cloudy skies and highs in the upper 50s. The rain will taper off later today with Friday expected to be "warmer and dry," he said.

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