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Claim: Family wants $5M

Newport Beach rescuers could have saved son’s life in deadly holiday accident had they arrived more quickly, family says.

May 07, 2010|By Brianna Bailey

The family of a 24-year-old man who died in a fiery Christmas Eve crash of a Ferrari on Pacific Coast Highway has filed a $5-million wrongful death claim against the city of Newport Beach. The victim's 18-year-old cousin was at the wheel of the luxury sports car.

Members of the Abinader family of Huntington Beach allege that Newport Beach rescue workers did not respond fast enough to the scene where their eldest son and brother, Ralph Abinader, died shortly after dusk, according to claims filed recently against the city.

They also claim that the head-on crash could have been prevented had the city installed higher traffic barriers on the stretch where the crash occurred.

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Ralph Abinader’s parents, Roger and Noha Abinader, and their two surviving sons, Thierry and Ray, plan to file a multimillion-dollar lawsuit for their loss, said Marc P. Miles, an attorney with the Santa Ana firm of Callahan & Blaine, who represents the family. Filing claims against the city is the first step in that process.

“They were expecting to celebrate [the holidays] with the entire family,” Miles said. “They didn’t expect going to a funeral. It has been absolutely the most traumatic thing his parents have ever suffered in their life.”

The Newport Beach police and fire departments on Thursday declined to comment on the crash or the Abinader family’s claims against the city, citing potential litigation in the matter.

A recent UCLA graduate who was planning on taking over his father’s construction business, Ralph Abinader died when the gray 2008 F-430 Spider Ferrari he was riding in jumped the center divider and crashed head-on into a tow truck on PCH near Jamboree Road.

Ralph Abinader’s cousin, Luicci Abinader, the owner of the Ferrari, was driving.

Police told the Daily Pilot at the time of the accident that the car was traveling at a high rate of speed when it spun out of control and flipped over a traffic island. The Ferrari split into two pieces and burst into flames after smashing into a tow truck.

Newport Beach firefighters pulled Luicci Abinader from the burning wreckage, but did not reach Ralph Abinader in time. Luicci Abinader survived the crash with critical injuries, but his cousin was pronounced dead at the scene.

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