Runaway Car Crashes Into Restaurant

A motorist accidentally rammed into the side of La Sirena in South Laguna, forcing a temporary closure. Photo by Jody Tiongco
A motorist accidentally rammed into the side of La Sirena in South Laguna, forcing a temporary closure.
Photo by Jody Tiongco

La Sirena Grill in South Laguna closed for unexpected repairs this week after a motorist accidently rammed into the south side of the restaurant about 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 26. No one was injured.

Officers spoke to the driver who also escaped injury and determined that neither alcohol nor drugs was a factor, Sgt. Tim Kleiser said. The initial investigation suggests the driver was attempting to park the vehicle, but pressed on the accelerator instead of the break, he said.

Due to the Oscar broadcast, the restaurant wasn’t as full as usual and the inside and outside tables where the car struck were unoccupied, said take-out specialist Ken Sutton, who was on duty Sunday.

“I’m pretty sure the driver got a take out order,” said Sutton, who also recalled running into a wall with order in hand trying to flee as the car in the handicapped spot jumped the curb. Its impact on an outside picnic table pushed in the side of the building, snapped the side door and bowed the windows.

Sutton said he watched the car go into reverse at a speed unsafe for a parking lot and hit another vehicle. “It easily could have taken out more,” he said.

Restaurant co-owner Scott Cortelessa, of Laguna Beach, hopes the closure is no more than a few days. Inspectors red-tagged the building, restricting public access. “It was a pretty severe crash,” he said. As yet, he doesn’t know the cost of repairs. Insurance adjustors are due today, Tuesday, Feb. 28, he said.


Monday, Feb. 20

Suspicious. 31100 block of Coast Highway. 4:55 p.m. Permitted training by the organization Wake Up Warrior attracted attention; some of the 20 recruits in camouflage gear wore blindfolds.

Petty theft. S. Coast Highway near Nyes Place. 6:11 p.m. A woman discovered a $300 purse missing from her vehicle and a smashed window in her car and that of another. The owner of the second vehicle reported items stolen valued at $350 about 6:50 p.m.

Domestic violence. 11:16 p.m. 300 block of Locust St. An alleged assault by a quarreling couple led to the felony arrest of Desiree Michele Bick, 31, of Pacific Palisades, and William Joshua Dodsworth, 34, Laguna Beach, for suspicion of domestic violence.

Tuesday, Feb. 21

Domestic violence. 100 block of High Drive. 1:19 p.m. Ronald Sheuerman, 48, was arrested for suspicion of felony domestic violence after he allegedly struck a girlfriend. Bail was set at $50,000.

Traffic collision. Alta Laguna Blvd. Two juveniles were occupants of a vehicle that overturned.

Wednesday, Feb. 22

Traffic collision. El Toro Rd. 1:36 a.m. The driver of a truck stolen in Santa Ana evaded arrest after abandoning the vehicle when it plowed into a utility pole. An Uber driver reported picking up a fare in the area, the log said.

Theft. 100 block of Coast Hwy. 6:58 a.m. Someone stole a backpack with valuables worth $330 from a person asleep on the beach.

Foot patrol. 300 block of Broadway St. John Byron Grow, 63, of Westminster, was arrested for a DUI warrant.

Medical aid. 900 block of Laguna Canyon Rd. A construction worker who fell from a roof had difficulty breathing.

Petty theft. 700 block of Gaviota Drive. Police are unable to locate a suspect in the area that meets the description of a man in his 20s observed stealing mail.

Trespassing. 200 block of Lower Cliff Dr. 2:53 p.m. A homeowner’s association president reports a man jumping six floors into a swimming pool on Monday, Feb. 20.

Fraud. 300 block of Forest Ave. An account manager says an independent contractor has cashed fraudulent checks.

Theft. 200 block of Forest Ave. 3:59 p.m. Dylan Ray Leon, 22, of Rancho Santa Margarita, was arrested for suspicion of shoplifting a windbreaker and held without bail due to a parole violation.

Theft. 100 block of Cleo St. 6:19 p.m. A package was stolen from a door.

Thursday, Feb. 23

Suspicious. 29900 block of Balboa Ave. 1:42 a.m. Someone on an early morning dog walk spotted a car driving without lights and stopping at a mailbox. Police later caught up with Laura Orozco, 41, of Riverside, for driving on a suspended license and passenger Richard Steve Rosen, 46, of Whittier, for three outstanding warrants.

Fraud. 700 block of Cliff Dr. 1:18 p.m. A resident received a bill from a creditor on an account they didn’t open.

Fraud. Vista de Catalina. 2:16 p.m. Fraudulent charges were made to an Amazon account.

Burglary. 200 block of Lower Cliff Dr. 4:30 p.m. A 21-year-old Laguna Beach man was arrested and held for burglary after he allegedly was surprised by the resident and fled. Details were unavailable.

Drug activity. 700 block of S. Coast Hwy. 6:33 p.m. In response to a disturbance call, police arrested Marcus Baldwin, 48, San Diego, for outstanding warrants.

Stolen vehicle. S. Coast Hwy. 8:53 p.m. Logan Carson, 33, of Newport Beach, was arrested for suspicion of auto theft, possessing a controlled substance and evading after a car pursuit at speeds of up to 70 mph to Balboa Island from downtown Laguna. Passenger Ryan Harrison Shelton, 34, of San Juan Capistrano, was arrested for resisting arrest after bailing out of the stolen car and attempting to flee on foot.

Friday, Feb. 24

Traffic collision. Tahiti Ave. 1:51 a.m. Police are investigating the cause of a collision where two people fled on foot while three others remained, including one who needed medical treatment.

Indecent exposure. Aliso Beach. 3 p.m. A woman reported that a man exposed his genitals to her and may have followed her.

Traffic collision. Forest Ave. 4:59 p.m. A motorcyclist complained of pain after laying down a bike when traffic stopped unexpectedly.

Traffic stop.. Montage Resort. Cale Floyd Hill, 42, of San Clemente, and Sheryl Lynn Herrera, 40, of Capo Beach, were each arrested for suspicion of possessing controlled drugs.

Stolen vehicle. PD. 9:41 p.m. Oceanside police report recovery of a 2014 Jeep reported stolen in Laguna Beach.

Attempt to contact. 1400 block of N. Coast Hwy. 11:30 p.m. Matthew Alan Arthur, 26, of Rancho Santa Margarita, was arrested for suspicion of three misdemeanor drug charges and an 18-year-old from Cota de Caza was arrested for being under the influence.

Emergency. 1400 block of S. Coast Hwy. Combative Spencer Ohara Alman, 30, of Trabuco Canyon, was arrested for suspicion of assault and public drunkenness after spitting on an arresting officer.

Saturday, Feb. 25

DUI. 2000 block of S. Coast Hwy. 2:34 a.m. Complaints about arguing led to the arrest of a 29-year-old Chula Vista woman for DUI and that of her 21-year-old partner for domestic violence.

Theft. 500 block of N. Coast Hwy. 10:12 a.m. Surveillance footage from yesterday shows a man in his 20s or 30s swiped $375 worth of tequila.

Grand theft. 100 block of N. Coast Hwy. Lifeguards reported theft of a handheld radio.

Pedestrian stop. 700 block of S. Coast Hwy. 10:27 p.m. Steve Salvatore Sanfellipo, 39, of Laguna Beach, was arrested for warrants.

Sunday, Feb. 26

Traffic stop. Montage Resort. 12:49 a.m. A 48-year-old Irvine woman was arrested for DUI.

Traffic stop. 200 block of Oak St. 12:52 a.m. Nicholas Matthew Bebek, 31, of La Habra, was arrested for suspicion of DUI and held for $10,000 bail due to a previous offense.

Theft. Ramona Ave. 10:20 a.m. A 36-inch skateboard and tennis shoes were stolen from a front porch.

Vandalism. 31300 block of Holly Drive. 1:47 p.m. A resident arrived home and discovered a broken glass on the deck.



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