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Laguna Niguel Crash Kills 1, Injures 4

August 29, 2004|Joel Rubin | Times Staff Writer

A 14-year-old Mission Viejo girl was killed and four other people were seriously injured early Saturday when their car crashed in Laguna Niguel.

James Dean Ericsson, 18 , lost control of the Acura on Niguel Road shortly before 7 a.m. The car struck the curb, careened across the road and uprooted a small tree, coming to rest on its side, said Lt. Larry Abbott of the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

Tire marks and other evidence indicated that speeding was likely a factor in the crash, Abbott said. He said that investigators found an empty liquor flask and signs of marijuana use in the car.

Blood samples for toxicology tests were drawn from Ericsson, of La Quinta, shortly after the accident.

Emergency crews first pulled four people out of the car: Ericsson; Justin McNally, 20, of Laguna Niguel; Matt Rogers, 20, of San Juan Capistrano; and a 14-year-old Aliso Viejo girl. On a second check of the wreckage, they discovered the fatally injured girl.

All five were taken to Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center in Mission Viejo, where the girl died shortly before 9:30 a.m. with her parents at her bedside, Abbott said.

Ericsson was in critical condition Saturday afternoon and the other two men were in fair condition, according to a Mission Hospital spokeswoman.

Citing their ages, Abbott declined to release the names of the two girls.

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