Three commuters were lucky to be alive Friday following a confusing series of accidents on El Toro Road. Nine hours after the early morning wrecks, portions of the road were still closed to traffic as crews worked to clean up the scene.
There were three people involved in two accidents. Simon Haxby, a 20-year-old Irvine man, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence after he drove off the road and struck a power pole on El Toro Road at the 73 Toll Road just before 2 a.m., according to the Laguna Beach Police Department. The car landed in a ravine off the side of the road, and his 21-year-old female passenger was ejected and hospitalized with injuries to her face, said Capt. Jason Kravetz.
A second driver crashed into the downed pole lying in the road, causing his car to do a complete flip before landing back on its tires. Because he was unlicensed, the man tried to drive away, said Kravetz.
That’s when things got really confusing.
A UPS driver witnessed the second crash and called 911, said Kravetz.
“He watched the car flip over. After it flipped, it landed back on its tires,” said Kravetz.
When the officer arrived, it was the driver in the first crash who flagged her down. Not realizing there were two separate accidents, the officer initially thought that person flipped his car and fled the scene, Kravetz said.
“It was a very confusing situation because the guy that called us was reporting the second accident,” Kravetz said.
When investigators realized a second car was involved in the crash, a sheriff’s deputy tracked down the fleeing Chevy Metro, said Kravetz.
“He wasn’t drunk. He just fled because he was unlicensed,” Kravetz said. “His car was so damaged after flipping over [that] he could only go about 10 mph, so it wasn’t very hard for us to catch up to him.”
Police caught up to the driver in Aliso Viejo, where they cited him and impounded his car.