Leslie Juarez, 27, of Laguna Beach, was arraigned Tuesday in the death of a motorcyclist and injury of another motorist, the district attorney’s office announced. A preliminary hearing was set for Aug. 2.
Juarez is charged with vehicular manslaughter, causing great bodily injury, and driving with a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit in a March 29 chain-reaction collision on Interstate 405 in Irvine. If convicted, she faces a maximum sentence of 13 years in state prison due to sentencing enhancements.
In the 11:30 p.m. pile-up, Juarez is accused of speeding and swerving, slamming the passenger side of a vehicle driven by 21-year-old Joelle Friedlander. The impact of the collision sent Friedlander’s car over the center divider, disabling the engine and lights and onto the northbound side of the freeway in the two carpool lanes, prosecutors say. Friedlander was able to exit the car and run to the center median.
Two minutes later, a northbound motorcycle driven by 32-year-old JC Droege slammed into the disabled vehicle.
Droege was pronounced dead at the scene due to multiple blunt traumatic injuries. Friedlander was taken to Hoag Hospital in Irvine and was treated for a fractured ankle, bruises, and cuts.
Two Rescued from Wilderness Area
In two separate unrelated incidents, helicopters were deployed to extract injured hikers from Laguna Coast Wilderness trails, said fire department Division Chief Dan Stefano.
A 51-year-old Irvine hiker, who was designated a trauma patient due to the nature of his medical needs and the extent of his injuries, was airlifted to Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo. Firefighters located the victim just off of the Laguna Ridge Trail, on the north side of Laguna Canyon Road, Stefano said.
A friend who was hiking with the victim Saturday morning was uncertain what caused the medical emergency, Stefano said.
The second incident, about 7 p.m. Sunday, involved a 47-year-old male biker on Rattlesnake Trail. The OCFA Helicopter was redeployed for a second air rescue, Stefano said.
Beach Patrol Sets Out Shortly
Eight non-sworn temporary beach patrol officers will strike out on the sand and in city parks beginning June 29, issuing citations for drinking alcohol and smoking on the beach, off-leash dogs, parking violations and skateboarding scofflaws.
Civilian police supervisor Jim Beres said this week two teams per day will make the rounds. Other traffic control officers will start assisting on weekends from noon to 7 p.m. and from 7 to 11:15 p.m. once the Pageant of the Masters’ production begins.
Monday, June 11
Burglary. 400 block of S. Coast Hwy. 12 p.m. A business owner discovered someone had entered the business, breaking some items.
Fraud. 1 p.m. 400 block of Thalia St. A resident learned from a credit card services that someone was attempting add a name to her account.
DUI. 2:10 p.m. 1300 block of N. Coast Hwy. A subject thought to be intoxicated was detained for an immigration violation.
Fraud. 2:15 p.m. 300 block of N. Coast Hwy. Detectives will pursue a gallery customer who purchased seven paintings valued at $25,000 with two checks written on closed accounts.
DUI. 3:48 p.m. Coast Hwy. Citizens who called about an erratic driver led to the arrest of a 49-year-old Laguna Beach resident, who was detained for possession of several prescription pills without a prescription.
Tuesday, June 12
Vehicle fire. 1:25 p.m. Anita St. Fire, possibly started by an electrical problem, fully engulfed a vehicle parked just minutes before.
Fraud. 3:05 p.m. 1900 San Remo Dr. A resident reported three unauthorized transactions totaling $1,000 on his account at an Anthony, Tex., truck stop.
Suspicious circumstances. 7:56 p.m. 2800 block of Ward’s Terrace. Jason Doyle Young, 22, of Lake Forest, was arrested for suspicion of burglary and auto theft and held for $50,000 bail. He was found inside a Ward’s Terrace house, where he was preparing dinner for himself. Police say Young knows the daughter of the property’s owner.
Wednesday, June 13
Traffic stop. 12:38 a.m. Moss St. A 54-year-old Laguna Beach woman was held for DUI and $2500 bail.
Thursday, June 14
TS. 2:34 a.m. 200 block Wave St. A 24-year-old Sunset Beach woman was arrested for DUI and held for $2,500 bail.
Friday, June 15
Vandalism. 4:45 a.m. Park Avenue. The high school janitor discovered several door locks on the high school quad had been damaged with construction glue and windows and exterior doors inked with expletives in black markers.
Stalking. 31800 block of Coast Hwy. 10:25 a.m. A patient reported receiving unwanted veiled threats from an ex-boyfriend.
Traffic stop. 11:23 p.m. S. Coast Hwy. A 30-year-old Mission Viejo man was cited for DUI and held for $2500 bail.
Saturday, June 16
Traffic stop. 12:41 a.m. Canyon Acres. A 28-year-old Nevada man was arrested for DUI and held for $2500 bail.
Traffic stop. 12:52 a.m. 300 bock of Broadway St. A 35-year-old Foothill Ranch resident was arrested for DUI and held for $2500 bail.
Burglary. 1:23 a.m. 3300 block of Laguna Canyon Rd. Duncan James Munro, 33, a homeless man of Laguna Niguel, was arrested for suspicion of burglary after police were called when residents heard a window shatter in the first level of their building. The callers found a painting missing. Officers located a suspect nearby who had a painting in his possession. Munro was held for $20,000 bail.
Traffic stop. 3:32 a.m. Laguna Canyon Rd. A caller who reported an inbound vehicle swerving prompted the arrest of a 20-year-old Laguna Beach man for DUI. He was held for $2500 bail.
Traffic stop. 3:35 p.m. 1000 block Laguna Canyon Rd. A 17-year-old local teen was arrested for DUI and held for $2500 bail.
Vandalism. 10:13 a.m. 31700 Coast Hwy. A video camera captured five juveniles breaking the gate to access the beach.
Medical aid. 10:24 a.m. 2500 Laguna Canyon Rd. A man with injuries passed out on a trail and found by another hiker was airlifted to Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo.
Petty theft. 12:23 p.m. 700 block of Coast Hwy. A female in her 20s with brown wavy hair store a necklace.
Petty theft. 12:42 p.m. 200 block of Forest Ave. A female in her 30s with brown wavy hair took a $40 shirt.
Lost property. 4:27 p.m. PD. A woman who took off her jewelry to put sunscreen on her daughter reported a loss: a peach sapphire and diamond ring valued at $6,000 and silver ring with a turquoise stone valued at $200.
Sunday, June 17
Traffic stop. 3:16 a.m. Nyes Place. A 24-year-old Laguna Beach man and a 19-year-old woman from San Francisco were both arrested for suspicion of DUI after an officer observed both their vehicles speeding and driving recklessly.