DUI suspect arrested after rollover collision in Laguna Beach

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A Volkswagen GTI rolled over after a traffic collision Sunday at Pearl Street and South Coast Highway. Photo courtesy of Don Schultz.

A 28-year-old Chula Vista woman faces multiple charges for a rollover crash on Sunday, including endangering the life of a three-year-old boy in the back seat of the car she was driving.

Laguna Beach police and firefighters responded to a traffic collision at 4:59 p.m. at Pearl Street and South Coast Highway.

Stephanie Berkell Montoya was allegedly driving southbound in a white Volkswagen GTI when she hit two parked vehicles, authorities said. The Volkswagen hit the second vehicle at an angle and flipped onto its roof.

There were two passengers in the Volkswagen, a 29-year-old Diamond Bar woman and her three-year-old son, who was secured in a car seat. The boy was seemingly uninjured but still transported with the mother to Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo as a typical precaution after a rollover crash.

Both lanes of southbound traffic were redirected onto Ocean Way following the traffic collision.

Montoya is accused of fleeing the scene on foot before being located by officers near Ruby Street and South Coast Highway, authorities said.

“The driver was detained, spontaneously admitted to everything, was intoxicated, and found to have a suspended driver’s license for a prior DUI arrest,” Laguna Beach Police Sgt. Jim Cota said in a prepared statement.

Montoya was arrested on suspicion of felony DUI causing injury, child endangerment, felony hit and run, driving with a suspended license, and DUI while on probation for DUI. She was transported to Mission Hospital with possible chest trauma.

Shereen Loth, owner of The Yoga Line, was closing up her store when she heard the walls shake. She initially thought it was an earthquake. After seeing the wreck, Loth jumped in the overturned car to pull the child from the car seat.

“I talked the baby through his crying,” Loth said. “I didn’t want someone else, who didn’t have a mom’s touch, after this trauma. That’s just the mom in me.”

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