Newport Beach : Woman Eludes Police, Then Dies in Crash

Share via

A 51-year-old El Toro woman, who had twice sped away when a police officer approached her car, crashed into a tree and was killed Saturday, police said.

Vanessa Dever died at the scene after she drove off the ocean side of Coast Highway just north of Myrtle Street in Laguna Beach and hit the tree, Newport Beach Sgt. Bob Harrison said.

Earlier, Newport Beach Officer Mike Hernandez had approached Dever as she sat in her 1986 Hyundai near the southern city limits. As he began talking, she sped away, Harrison said.


Dever pulled over a few miles south on Coast Highway, but when Hernandez reached her car, she took off again at speeds of up to 80 m.p.h., police said. When Hernandez reached Laguna Beach, he lost sight of the Hyundai, and he and an officer in that city began searching side streets.

Soon after, a witness’s call led police to Dever’s car, which had gone off the road and was partially concealed by foliage, Harrison said. Paramedics were called, but she had died in the crash.

California Highway Patrol officers investigated the accident but would not comment Saturday. Harrison said Dever was being pursued on suspicion of drunk and reckless driving and evading arrest.