Man extradited from Colombia, faces murder charge in Laguna Beach crash

Francisco David Acuna Sanchez. Photo courtesy of Laguna Beach Police Department

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly named the country Sanchez was extradited from. The Independent regrets the error.

A man who fled the country after a deadly 2014 traffic collision in Laguna Beach has been extradited to the U.S. and arraigned on a murder charge Monday.

On Jan. 26, 2014, Francisco David Acuna Sanchez was speeding northbound on North Coast Highway at Irvine Cove when he crashed into a truck, injuring several people and killing his passenger, Erik Ortiz Valencia, Laguna Beach police said.

“Laguna Beach Police have worked with federal law enforcement for years in an attempt to get suspect returned to the United States to be held responsible for the Laguna Beach incident,” Lt. Jim Cota, a department spokesperson, said in a press release issued Thursday.

After being hospitalized for his own injuries from the crash for four months, Sanchez fled to Colombia before authorities tracked him down. The U.S. Marshals Fugitive Team recently notified Laguna Beach police that the 34-year-old man would be extradited.

Laguna Beach detectives took Sanchez into custody at Los Angeles International Airport on a $1 million warrant On Nov. 24. He was immediately transported to the Laguna Beach Police Department, where he was booked, interviewed, and then transported to Orange County Jail.

Sanchez is in custody at the Theo Lacy Facility in Orange and has a bail review hearing on Dec. 15 in Central Jail Court, according to jail records.

“The pursuit of justice never ends. The Orange County District Attorney’s Office is committed to holding drunk and drugged drivers accountable, regardless of how far we have to go to track them down and bring them back to stand trial,” District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a prepared statement.

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