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Homeless Man Dies in Canyon Crash

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A man who had exited a car parked on Laguna Canyon Road near the dog park was struck and killed by an outbound motorist Friday, Aug. 7, about 1 a.m., police said.

The coroner’s office identified the victim as 40-year-old Richard McCrary, but provided no home address.

The death is the fourth traffic fatality within the city this year, all of which have occurred in Laguna Canyon, Capt. Jason Kravetz said.

The motorist involved, a 20-year-old woman from Laguna Beach, was not charged. Neither drugs nor alcohol were a factor, Kravetz said.

Investigators are trying to determine whether McCrary stumbled, experienced a medical emergency or was inebriated when he exited his car and strayed into the traffic lane, said Kravetz. Police surveillance cameras do not include the section of the roadway where the collision occurred, he said. McCrary’s car was parked in a legal parking spot.

Local resident Leonard Porto said he befriended McCrary and his wife a year ago. “They are homeless people who had no place else to go,” said Porto, who described giving the couple a pair of extra large pillows to use in their car. “He and his wife almost did cartwheels over those pillows,” said Porto, who has contested receiving tickets for sleeping in his car and filed a federal lawsuit in 2012 over city policies that impact homeless people.

The public log of police activity shows police were called to the nearby homeless shelter hours before the accident, at 7:48 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 6, over a stolen backpack, but had not been on the premises later that night, Kravetz said.

Homeless people with cars and sleeping bags, who are turned away when the 50-person shelter fills for the night, often take refuge in the city-owned parking lot outside. Signage in the area is unclear, displaying conflicting restrictions and in the past police have rousted people sleeping in their cars and seized unattended possessions in the lot, Porto said.

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About the Author
The author is the editor of the Laguna Beach Independent. Prior to taking the job in 2005, she worked previously as a reporter at five daily newspapers, including the Daily Pilot in Costa Mesa, the Daily News of Los Angeles and the New York Times. Reach her by emailing [email protected]

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