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3 passengers killed, alleged drunk driver is held in Costa Mesa crash

Man at wheel injured, charged with DUI after their vehicle slams into two others, hits pole.

June 03, 2007|David Haldane | Times Staff Writer

Authorities on Saturday identified the three Costa Mesa men who were killed when the allegedly drunk driver of their speeding car slammed into two other vehicles and a power pole.

Passengers Juan Alberto Romero-Figueroa, 18, Julio Cesar Sandoval-Telles, 21, and Francisco Javier Rodriguez, 19, were declared dead at the scene of the Costa Mesa wreck shortly before 9 p.m. Friday.

Jose Gustavo Castillo, 26, who was at the wheel of the Lincoln Town Car, was taken to Western Medical Center-Santa Ana for treatment of major injuries, including a lacerated liver and punctured diaphragm. He was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, with bail set at $100,000.

The accident occurred about 8:45 p.m. in the 1100 block of Victoria Street, police said, when Castillo, speeding westbound, rear-ended a Chevrolet Malibu, causing major damage.

His car then clipped the right rear quarter of a Jeep Cherokee and careened into a Southern California Edison Co. pole, striking it on the car's passenger side.

Romero-Figueroa and Sandoval-Telles were ejected from the vehicle, authorities said, while Rodriguez was trapped in the back seat.

Neither of the other drivers was injured.

The cause of the accident is under investigation, a police spokesman said.


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