Emerald Bay : Police Say Boy Drove Jeep Involved in Fatal Crash

The Jeep that struck a BMW in a fiery head-on collision that killed a teen-age girl in Emerald Bay over the weekend was driven illegally by a 15-year-old boy, California Highway Patrol officials said Tuesday.

CHP officer Raul Martinez said that the boy, who had told authorities he was a passenger in the Jeep and that a 17-year-old was driving, was himself the driver.

"Several witnesses have come through. . . . We have positively identified the driver," Martinez said.

Valerie Hacker, 16, of Newport Beach died from injuries suffered in the Sunday night collision. Authorities said the Jeep driver, going south on Pacific Coast Highway, had veered to avoid hitting a car coming from an exit road, when it hit the BMW.

Martinez said the accident is under investigation.

"We had people calling the office saying they had observed the Jeep driving recklessly on the highway at speeds exceeding 70 m.p.h.," he said.

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