IRVINE, Calif. – Early Thursday morning (Dec. 3), a Santa Ana man died after a suspected drunk driver allegedly started a series of crashes after swerving across lanes on the transition from the southbound I-5 to the 133 toll road, the Orange County Register reported.
The victim, J. Ticas, 39, of Santa Ana, was killed after being struck by a third vehicle while he was standing near his car, authorities said.
At 5:13 a.m., the California Highway Patrol was alerted about the series of crashes after a man driving a black Dodge Charger reportedly swerved across several lanes at the transition from the southbound I-5 to the 133 toll road, according to CHP Officer F. Olivera.
The driver of the Charger who was arrested on suspicion of DUI, was hit by a big-rig, causing the Charger to swerve. The DUI suspect was identified as J. Garmon of Trabuco Canyon. According to the authorities, this was Garmon’s second DUI arrest.
As Garmon swerved he veered in front of Ticas, who was driving a white GMC Yukon, sending the Charger into a guard rail before stopping horizontally into traffic.
Ticas stopped his SUV about 100 feet south of the Dodge Charger. He stepped out of his vehicle and walked over to the other man.
The men spoke briefly, then Ticas started calling someone on his phone as he stopped near his SUV on the highway, standing behind the Yukon, Olivera said.
At that moment, a man in a Nissan 240SX drove onto the transition. When he saw the Dodge Charger blocking the lanes he swerved to avoid a collision. The driver of the Nissan overcorrected and struck Ticas, as he stood in the road. Ticas was launched over the guardrail, where he fell 50 feet to his death.
A man driving a white Toyota Camry drove onto the transition and crashed when he tried to avoid the Dodge in the roadway. The driver of the Camry was transported to Orange County Medical Center in Santa Ana; he is expected to survive his injuries.
Another driver, Mickey, who didn’t provide his last name, told the Register that when he saw the crash scene, he stopped and asked if everyone was okay. When he looked down the hill, he saw Ticas laying at the bottom of the hill, and another driver with him.
Mickey said they started doing CPR on Ticas, but when Mickey turned him over, Ticas’ face was smashed. Mickey performed CPR for about 5 minutes, but he couldn’t get him back and he was obviously bleeding internally. Mickey told the Register that he’d never seen anything like this.
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