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Girl, 16, dies in crash near Tustin

August 29, 2008|Stuart Pfeifer | Times Staff Writer

A 16-year-old girl died early Thursday after a one-car traffic crash in an unincorporated area of Orange County near Tustin, and the teenage driver was arrested on suspicion of felony drunk driving, authorities said.

The 17-year-old driver was speeding about 2:45 a.m. when he lost control of his black 1998 Mercedes-Benz E320 and struck a traffic signal pole at Newport Avenue and La Colina Drive, said California Highway Patrol Officer Jennifer Hink.

The passenger, Mackenzie Frazee of Tustin, was pronounced dead at 3:40 a.m. at Western Medical Center in Santa Ana, said Larry Esslinger, a supervising Orange County deputy coroner. Frazee was wearing a seat belt, Hink said.

Frazee was about to start her junior year at Foothill High School, where she was regarded as a good student, said Mark Eliot, a spokesman for the Tustin Unified School District. The district sent grief counselors to the campus Thursday to assist students or staffers who might be on campus, Eliot said. Classes are scheduled to begin Wednesday.

The driver, a former Foothill High student, was arrested and placed in custody Thursday morning at Western Medical Center, where he was treated for moderate injuries, Hink said.

Officials declined to identify the driver because he is a juvenile.

CHP officers intend to submit the case to the Orange County district attorney's office to consider filing criminal charges against the driver, Hink said.

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stuart.pfeifer@latimes.com

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