At about 1:45 a.m. on Monday, September 9, Irvine teen Marie Elizabeth Johnson was killed in a rollover accident in Silverado Canyon, reported the Orange County Register. The 16-year-old girl was the occupant of a Honda Civic that collided with another Honda Civic while traveling south on Santiago Canyon Road. The impact caused one of the Hondas to overturn and sent the other into the brush on the side of the road. Johnson was ejected from one of the cars. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Six others, all in their teens or early 20s, sustained minor to moderate trauma.
The Orange County Register reported that the driver of the Honda in which Johnson was riding, 19-year-old Antonio Escamilla, has been arrested on suspicion of drunken driving and vehicular manslaughter. Authorities plan on taking him into custody once he is released from Western Medical Center Santa Ana, where he is receiving treatment for major injuries.
According to the Orange County Register, Escamilla was following the other Honda-both cars traveling about 70 mph on the winding road-to Black Star Canyon when it suddenly stopped to avoid a deer crossing the road, causing him to also brake abruptly, veer from the road, and strike a tree. The vehicle flipped upon impact, ejecting Johnson.
Known to her friends as Lizzie, Marie Elizabeth Johnson was set to start her junior year at Irvine High School tomorrow.
Traffic accidents claimed the lives of or caused injury to 19,018 people in Orange County in 2010, with 1,561 of the crashes occurring between the hours of 9 p.m. and 2:59 a.m., according to accident statistics from the California Office of Traffic Safety. Drivers under the age of 21 were involved in 208 of the fatal and injury collisions.
California law provides recourse through the civil justice system for the victims of traffic accidents and their families. To learn more about the rights of accident victims, please call 866-981-5596.
All of us at Allen, Flatt, Ballidis, and Leslie would like to offer our condolences to the family of Marie Elizabeth Johnson.