Prosecutors filed criminal charges against two motorists last week in two separate traffic fatalities that occurred in Laguna Beach in 2014, police said today.
In both instances, the motorists will be arraigned for vehicular-manslaughter next month, police Capt. Jason Kravetz said. For acts of ordinary negligence, the maximum sentence under California law is one year in county jail. Acts of gross negligence – such as driving drunk or texting while driving — could carry a maximum felony sentence of six years in state prison.
Two other traffic fatalities that also occurred last year remain under investigation and another concluded with no charges being filed, he said.
Grace Dolores Velure, 83, a tourist from West St. Paul, Minn., was charged in the death
of 22-year-old Nina Fitzpatrick, who was struck April 3 about 8:45 p.m. while crossing Laguna Canyon Road, Kravetz said. As a result of her death and pressure by college officials, Caltrans pushed ahead installation of a traffic signal at the crossing.
Jameson Reed Crawley, 21, of Laguna Beach, was charged in the death of pedestrian Regan Hess, 48, of Laguna Beach, who was struck while he was crossing South Coast Highway at Mountain Road, Kravetz said. The May 21 accident was witnessed by a Laguna Beach police officer, who was stopped at the intersection waiting for Hess, he said.
Two other fatal accidents remain under criminal investigation, he said. One involves the death of Erik Ortiz Valencia, 29, of Costa Mesa, a passenger in a four-car pile-up on the afternoon of Jan. 26 in North Laguna.
The other involves a bicyclist, Laguna Beach resident John Greg Colvin, 55, who was struck and killed June 17 by a motorist on North Coast Highway in the Emerald Bay area. Police identified the driver as Laguna Beach resident Dylan Randluby, 19.
The accident, still marked by a ghost bike shrine, provoked a protest at City Hall by bicyclists demanding more measures to improve safety on local streets.
No charges are pending in the death of Dawn North, 59, of Newport Beach, who died after she slammed into a parked truck in Laguna Canyon at midnight on May 21, Kravetz said.