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Driver in 10-car crash sped into oncoming traffic, police say

January 16, 2011|By Joseph Serna, joseph.serna@latimes.com

A Newport Beach woman who was speeding down West Coast Highway and drove into oncoming traffic caused a gruesome 10-car crash that killed her and two other people Saturday afternoon, police said Sunday.

Julia Allen, 27, was driving eastbound on West Coast Highway toward Riverside Avenue about 2:45 p.m. when she drove her tan Ford Taurus into the westbound lanes and hit a Toyota Prius and a white Ford Taurus, police said.

Allen’s car kept going and slammed into a Nissan Titan before barreling directly into the passenger side of a white Toyota Tacoma that was turning left on eastbound West Coast Highway from Riverside Avenue, investigators said. The collision instantly killed the Tacoma’s driver, Christopher De La Cruz, 49, from Laguna Niguel, and passenger Linda Burnett, 69, from Santa Ana.

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Allen’s vehicle was launched into the air from the collision and landed on several vehicles, including a motorcycle, that were waiting to turn left into a restaurant parking lot on the south side of West Coast Highway. The motorcycle rider was critically injured but is expected to survive. Allen died during the crash.

Police are continuing to examine the circumstances around the collision. Anyone with information is encouraged to call Newport Beach traffic investigator Bill Beverly at (949) 644-3747.

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