Driver Cited After Crash That Hurt 7

Times Staff Writer

The driver of a pickup truck that flipped over on Interstate 5 near San Juan Capistrano Sunday, injuring seven people, including three children, has been cited for turning too sharply onto the shoulder of the freeway, authorities said Monday.

Lauro Montoya, 27, of Los Angeles was cited in the accident, which occurred shortly after a tire on the truck blew out, according California Highway Patrol Officer Carl Twigg.

Twigg said Montoya apparently panicked and swerved onto the left shoulder, causing the truck to overturn and crack open the camper shell in which five women and three children were riding.

In Critical Condition

One of those passengers, 29-year-old Manuela Perea, was reported in critical condition Monday at Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center in Mission Viejo. Elizabeth Perea, 3, was reported in satisfactory condition at the same hospital with a fractured pelvis and right leg. Melissa Bailon, 10 months, suffered a skull fracture but was listed in satisfactory condition.

Montoya and four passengers were treated and released at San Clemente Hospital. One passenger, Janet Perea, 1, was in stable condition, according to a hospital spokesman.

The group, all residents of Los Angeles, was headed to Tijuana for a shopping trip, authorities said.

According to CHP spokesman Sam Haynes in Sacramento, state laws require minors under 12 to be accompanied by an adult when riding in the rear of a truck, but there are no safety restrictions on adults. If camper shells are permanently attached, no adult supervision or safety restraints for rear passengers are required under the law, Haynes added.

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