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Harris’ deadly crash hits close to home

October 10, 2007|By Brianna Bailey and Mike Sciacca

Costa Mesa resident Gabriella Hahn said her heart broke when she drove past the corner of Adams Avenue and Mesa Verde Drive last weekend where 21-year-old former Huntington Beach Oilers pitcher Sara Noel Harris crashed the black Audi she was driving into a traffic signal. Hahn, a 32-year-old mother of two, plans to line Adams Avenue with ribbons the morning of Harris’ funeral Saturday. She hopes a family member or friend of Harris will contact her with Sara’s favorite color, so she can use that color of ribbon.

“This is a stranger’s way of reaching out and letting the family know that even though we didn’t know this person, this crash affected our lives,” Hahn said.

Hahn’s home is right around the corner from the site of the fatal Sunday afternoon crash. She often walks her two sons past the traffic light where the accident happened. Authorities are investigating whether alcohol contributed to the crash.

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“I always tell my boys to stand back from the street because you never know what can happen,” she said.

Hahn said she feels a connection with the Harris family because she lost a brother in a car crash where alcohol was involved.

“Just because there was alcohol does not mean they were a bad person, and it’s a way to show the family we still care,” Hahn said.

Hahn said she hopes others will join her at 9 a.m. Saturday to decorate Adams Avenue with ribbons starting at Placentia Avenue. She said she will ask craft stores to donate ribbon for the cause, but will pay for it out of her own pocket if none accept her request. For more information, call Hahn at (714) 315-1265 or e-mail gabika@sbcglobal.net.

Harris’ death has touched both strangers and old friends.

Former Huntington Beach High softball coach Jack Lipscomb, who coached Harris for one year during her prep career and also during her earlier softball-playing days, remembered Harris as a talented pitcher with a vibrant personality.

“She was just a fun kid who had a lot of energy,” Lipscomb said. “She was a dynamite pitcher when she was younger and continued that way in high school. I feel just horrible for her family. I can’t imagine something like this. I have three kids, and it hits close to home. Something like this rips at your heart.”

Lipscomb said he got news of Harris’ death from a text message his daughter Taryn had received.

His daughters, Taryn, Shayna and Lindy, all played softball with Harris.

A photographic slide-show memorial in Harris’ honor has been set up at www.slideroll.com/slideshows/members/klking/show/rip-sara-noel-harris-2/#commentlist.


BRIANNA BAILEY may be reached at (714) 966-4625 or at brianna.bailey@latimes.com.

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