Reporter Killed in Crash After Stopping to Aid Stalled Motorist

A reporter for the Orange County Register who had stopped to aid another motorist was killed Saturday in a freeway accident in Long Beach when her parked car was rear-ended by a truck and trailer loaded with heavy steel coil.

Saundra Laura Mathis, 35, of Long Beach was fatally injured about 2 p.m. on the northbound shoulder of the Long Beach Freeway just north of the San Diego Freeway, the California Highway Patrol said. The driver of the truck, Hardamon T. Baker, 62, of Bellflower, also was killed, the CHP said.

Mathis had stopped to help a disabled motorist, the CHP said. The truck and trailer slammed into her car, causing both to overturn, officers said.

Mathis’ mother, Sylvia Vansine, 79, a passenger in the car, was badly injured, the CHP said. She was taken to Long Beach Memorial Hospital, where her condition Sunday was reported as “stable.”

Mathis joined the Register in April after working as editor of the Long Beach News. She had also been an editor and reporter for several newspapers in the Herald Community Newspapers group.


As a business writer for the weekly community edition of the Register, Mathis covered Santa Ana, Tustin, Orange, Mission Viejo, Leisure World and Irvine.