By Hailey Branson-Potts and Teresa Watanabe
10:12 AM PST, January 27, 2014
A man killed in a midday crash Sunday that closed Pacific Coast Highway in Laguna Beach for hours has been identified as 29-year-old Erik Valencia.
Valencia, of Irvine, was “a passenger in an out-of-control auto versus truck traffic accident,” according to a statement from the Orange County coroner’s office.
The collision involved five vehicles along the four-lane highway at Irvine Cove Drive, according to a statement by the Laguna Beach Police Department. Police and firefighters responded to reports of a head-on collision at 1:34 p.m., and the road was closed in both directions for several hours.
Laguna Beach police Capt. Jason Kravetz told KNBC-TV that a driver heading north on the highway crashed into another car in his lane. The driver then veered into southbound lanes and struck more cars.
The driver was taken to the hospital with serious injuries, and Valencia, his passenger, was declared dead at the scene. Four others were taken to the hospital with minor to severe injuries.
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