Halloween weekend proved to be a dangerous and tragic night for several families in Orange County. According to OC law enforcement officials, a number fatal accidents occurred over the weekend:
- One of the most covered stories to occur over the weekend involved a fatal hit-and-run car accident that left three teenage trick-or-treaters dead in Santa Ana. Officials stated that the accident occurred shortly before 7:00 pm on Halloween night when a speeding Honda CRV collided into the girls at a crosswalk. The vehicle was allegedly traveling 50 mph in a 25 mph zone. The occupants of the CRV fled the scene and abandoned the vehicle. Santa Ana police made several arrests connected to the incident but did not report whether drugs or alcohol may have been involved.
- Another fatal Halloween accident in Irvine killed a 65-year-old man and injured his 4-year-old sun while trick-or-treating. The child is in critical but stable condition. Officials report that the driver of the vehicle which struck the victims stopped at the scene and cooperated with authorities. No charges have yet been filed.
- On Saturday night at approximately 9:00 pm, another hit-and-run accident in Anaheim left one bicyclist dead. Officials are still investigating the incident in an effort to locate the driver.
The fatal collisions serve as a reminder of the increased risks motorists and pedestrians face on Holiday weekends. Although there have been no reports that any of the drivers were impaired, police are still investigating whether drugs or alcohol played a role in the accidents, especially since two of the vehicles involved fled the scene and because of the high rates of alcohol related crashes that occur during this time of year.
In 2012, for example, 48% of all traffic fatalities during Halloween involved a drunk driver, compared to only 31% on an average day, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Whatever the investigations may turn up, the drivers involved in two the accidents could face extremely serious penalties for failing to stop at the scene.
As part of the "Avoid the 38" Task Force, OC law enforcement officers had been on high alert during Halloween night and throughout the weekend for drivers under the influence and were able to respond quickly to the incidents. The results of their weekend DUI crackdown have not yet been released.