Accident investigators expect to return to the scene of a double fatality in Laguna Beach and will temporarily close Laguna Canyon Road between El Toro Road and state Highway 73 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Tuesday, April 9, police said today.
The Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team based in Irvine lacked a needed piece of gear during the initial investigation, said Sgt. Louise Callus said Monday.
Each team consists of investigators with specialized training in traffic collision reconstruction, traffic engineering, automotive engineering, and vehicle dynamics, according to a California Highway Patrol website.
Police are seeking the help of witnesses that might have observed the actions of two outbound vehicles, a black Tesla and a white Mercedes, allegedly involved in the 6:41 a.m. collision Tuesday, April 2, Callus said. “That would absolutely be helpful,” she said, adding that both drivers underwent interviews with investigators.
The driver of the Tesla, who suffered minor injuries in the accident, told police dispatchers “a white Mercedes cut him off, making him go into oncoming traffic,” according to the police department log.
The Tesla’s owner is a Laguna Beach resident, while the owner of the Mercedes is not, said Callus, who declined to identify the individuals further.
A collection was also started on behalf of the families of the collision victims, Alberto Casique-Salinas, 47, of Anaheim, and Armando Garcia-Gonzales, 38, of Santa Ana, who worked for a Laguna Beach landscaping company and were en route together to work in a Honda, Callus said.
Donations to the collection begun by the police employees association can be mailed by check made out to the Alberto and Armando Memorial and sent to LBPEA, PO Box 4611, Laguna Beach, CA 92652.
Investigators are trying to determine whether racing or other factors contributed to the accident, Callus said, caused by the Tesla veering into southbound lanes and colliding head-on with the inbound Honda. “That’s what’s being investigated, to tie down what happened and why it happened.”