Seal Beach car crash leaves Los Alamitos students hospitalized

GoFundMe set up to help with medical expenses

By Sofia Youngs

As of press time, authorities were still searching for the driver of a Mercedes Benz who plowed into a vehicle carrying five young females, two of whom remain hospitalized.

“Of the two victims who remain in the hospital, one is still in critical condition, and the other has been downgraded from critical to stable condition,” wrote Seal Beach Police  Capt. Nick Nicholas in a late Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 14, email.

Police said that on Saturday evening, a driver in a Mercedes Benz collided with five females in a vehicle traveling at speeds above 80 miles per hour.

At 7:13 p.m., on Saturday, Feb. 11, the male suspect in a Mercedes Benz 300 in gold crashed into five girls in a sedan between PCH and Main Street. Two of the girls remain stable in the hospital while the other three have been released.

“They have suffered severe injuries, and this is being investigated as a felony hit and run,” said Seal Beach Police Capt. Nick Nicholas.

Shortly after the incident, the suspect rested on a nearby bench in front of the Chase Bank before escaping when police arrived.

The suspect fled on foot after the incident and hid in the Hill area for several hours, and he has yet to be apprehended.

“We are investigating this incident as a felony hit-and-run.  Investigators are actively working to follow up on leads and have spoken to other potential witnesses.  We recovered some evidence at the scene which has been sent to the Orange County Crime Lab and we are waiting for that to be processed.  The suspect is still outstanding; however, we will provide more information about his identity once we confirm it,” Nicholas wrote.

The suspect remains at large. According to the police, he appeared to be Hispanic, 18  to 20  years old, approximately 5 feet 10 inches, last  seen wearing a maroon shirt.

As the airbag deployed when the two vehicles collided, investigators are now looking through the suspect’s car for any evidence that might help identify him.

“I was walking my dogs when I heard the crash,” Kyan Whiten, a sophomore at Los Alamitos High, said. “It sounded like a bomb was going off. It was scary,” Whiten said.

Fortunately, the suspect T-boned the sedan at an angle, causing the victim’s car to spin rather than overturn,  which authorities think most likely saved the girls’ lives.

Residents of Seal Beach came to the help of the victims, who suffered fractured bones and internal injuries, shortly after the collision.

Luckily, by the time the Orange Couty Fire Authority arrived, all of the trauma sufferers had safely exited the truck.

As of Feb. 14, it was unclear whether alcohol or drugs were involved in the event that caused the driver to crash in the intersection.

For more information regarding the suspect or the crash, call the SBPD at (562)799-4100.

Meanwhile, the owner of the Los Alamitos Ballet Academy has started a GoFundMe account to assist the girls’ families with medical expenses (see sidebar on page 3).