Woman Arrested in DUI Crash That Killed 2 Parents in Newport Beach

Woman Arrested in DUI Crash That Killed 2 Parents in Newport Beach
A man pays respects near the site of a crash that killed two parents and injured their three children in Newport Beach, Calif., on Dec. 9, 2020. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
City News Service

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (CNS)—Police announced Dec. 9 the arrest of a 22-year- old woman on suspicion of driving while impaired and causing a crash in Newport Beach that killed a Santa Ana couple and left their three young daughters hospitalized.

Grace Elizabeth Coleman of Newport Beach, who has a prior arrest for driving under the influence, was booked on suspicion of murder, DUI causing bodily injury, and hit-and-run resulting in death, according to Heather Rangel, a spokeswoman for the Newport Beach Police Department.

Rangel told The Epoch Times that there were witnesses to the accident, and that Coleman’s previous DUI arrest was in August.

Orange County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Dennis Breckner identified the victims of the Dec. 8 crash as Henry Eduardo Saldana-Mejia, 27, of Santa Ana, and Gabriela M. Andrade, who would have turned 29 later this month.

CBS2 reported that the couple’s daughters, ages 1, 4, and 5, were hospitalized in critical condition.

Coleman was also hospitalized, but the extent of her injuries was unclear.

“She was transported immediately with serious injuries,” Rangel said. “She is under our supervision, but she is still in the hospital.”

Channel 2 reported that an armed guard was posted outside her hospital room.

The crash occurred at 7:46 p.m. on Dec. 8 at Newport Coast Drive and Pelican Hills Road South. Coleman was behind the wheel of a black Range Rover that was southbound on Newport Coast Drive when the SUV collided with victims’ Nissan Versa as Saldana was turning onto Pelican Hills Road, Rangel said, noting that the three children were riding in the back seat of the sedan. She said Coleman “possibly” ran a red light.

Saldana-Mejia and his wife were pronounced dead at the scene.

He had been on his way to pick up his last paycheck at The Resort at Pelican Hill, where he had recently been working in housekeeping, his sister told Channel 2.

Jack Bradley of The Epoch Times contributed to this report.