New Year's holiday traffic accidents claimed the lives of five people, including two pedestrians, in Los Angeles and Orange counties as police made hundreds of arrests in a crackdown on drunk driving, officials said Saturday.
The California Highway Patrol reported 20 people had been killed throughout the state in traffic accidents from 6 p.m. New Year's Eve until 6 a.m. Saturday, down considerably from last year's toll.
During the same period last year, the CHP tallied 27 fatalities statewide, said Officer Kevin Dougherty.
Two of the holiday fatalities involved pedestrians, one who was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver. Another death occurred after a police chase in South Los Angeles that ended in a three-car crash.
George Ahlvers, 69, of Orange, died Saturday morning after he was hit by a car while crossing Katella Avenue in the city of Orange, police said. The driver of the car, a 35-year-old Anaheim woman, was not arrested or cited pending further investigation.
An unidentified man trying to walk across the Santa Monica Freeway near Western Avenue late Friday was run down by a motorist who then drove off. The victim, about 35, was not immediately identified and no arrests had been made.
A motorist speeding along Riverside Drive near Stadium Way shortly after 2 a.m. Saturday was killed when his pickup truck hit the center median on a curve and overturned. The driver, a man in his early 20s, was not immediately identified.
While none of the fatal accidents involved alcohol, beefed-up law enforcement efforts netted hundreds of suspected drunk drivers during the holiday weekend.
A Los Angeles police task force that concentrated on the downtown area and in the San Fernando Valley nabbed 172 suspected offenders from 7:15 p.m. Thursday to 4 a.m. Friday.
CHP officers who saturated freeways in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties arrested 586 suspected drunk drivers, said Officer Charlotte Foley.