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Girl Loses Part of Arm in Crash; Youth Faces Charge

Times Staff Writers

An early-morning car crash on Interstate 5 in Capistrano Beach left two teen-agers injured, including one who lost part of her arm, and another, the driver of the car, facing a possible felony hit-and-run charge, the California Highway Patrol reported Friday.

Three teen-age boys, including the driver, fled from the accident, a CHP spokesman said.

University High Students

Two girls who were left injured at the scene were identified as Sakura Austen and Claire Huckabay, both 14-year-old freshmen at University High School in Irvine.

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Huckabay’s left arm had to be amputated at the elbow by paramedics who responded to the accident at 12:25 a.m. Friday, authorities said. Austen suffered a fractured collar bone and back injuries. Both were taken to Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center in Mission Viejo, officials said.

The 16-year-old driver of the vehicle, who officers said did not have a driver’s license, and two of his high school friends, ran away after the Dodge sedan crashed into the center divider and rolled back onto the freeway, a CHP spokesman said. Their names were not released.

Sakura Austen, interviewed at the hospital Friday evening, said she remembers the car “flipping over” and “I remember some man that pulled over and tried to pull Claire out. And then they tried to wake me up because I wouldn’t get up.”

She said she was knocked unconscious and does not remember what happened to the three boys in the car.

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CHP Officer Ken Daily said the car driven by the unlicensed 16-year-old was traveling about 70 m.p.h. when it went out of control and crashed. Daily said the three boys fled, leaving the girls in the wreckage.

The two girls, Daily said, may have been sitting in the back seat. They were not wearing seat belts.

At 4 a.m., more than 3 hours after the accident, the three boys turned up at San Clemente Hospital, where police took them into custody. Daily said police would seek felony hit-and-run charges against the driver for leaving the scene of an accident.

The two other boys were released to their parents.

Two of the boys apparently were students at University High School in Irvine and the third was a student at El Toro High School.

The car was registered to the parents of one of the boys, CHP officers said.

Gerard Austen, Sakura’s father, said he and the other girl’s parents were distraught when they learned of the accident.

“Last night, when I saw the mother and father of the other child, we cried on each other’s shoulders, but I don’t know if I cried for them or out of relief that it wasn’t my daughter who lost part of her arm,” Austen said.

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“The problem (behind the accident) is the irresponsibility of the children, the accessibility of getting cars, getting a license at the age of 16, well, I can go on and on,” he said.

Hospital officials said that Sakura Austen was expected to be released today.

The accident occurred just north of the junction of Pacific Coast Highway and the freeway.


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