NEWPORT BEACH (CBS) — A 27-year-old woman from Newport Beach who was driving extremely fast in her Ford Taurus on the Pacific Coast Highway in Orange County ran into oncoming traffic and triggered a 10-vehicle collision that left herself and two others dead, authorities said Sunday.
The famed roadway was reopened around midnight, about 10 hours after the collision investigators after an initial investigation believe was caused by the woman, Julia Allen of Newport Beach, going “at an excessive rate of speed” then crossing the center line, Newport Beach police Lt. Bill Hartford said Sunday.
Witnesses said her car went airborne after it crossed into the opposite lane and collided with a Toyota Prius, a white Ford Taurus and a Toyota Tacoma pickup.
In addition to Allen, the two people in the pickup, Christopher De La Cruz, 49, of Laguna Niguel; and Linda Burnett, 69, of Santa Ana, were killed, Orange County coroner’s officials said.
Three other people were taken to hospitals with injuries, including a motorcycle rider who was listed in critical condition. The names of the injured were not immediately released. All were expected to survive.
Two cars were overturned, some people were trapped inside their vehicles, and it took hours before some of the dead could be removed from the wreckage.
Allen had been a cross-country and track runner at Corona Del Mar and Fountain Valley high schools. She graduated from Corona Del Mar High and later from Stanford University, according to the Orange County Register.
The crash was on a section of the PCH known locally as the West Coast Highway. The roadway was packed with beach traffic on a sunny, summer-like day in Southern California.
The famous highway runs along the ocean through many of California’s most scenic stretches and most expensive neighborhoods.
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