1 Killed, 3 Hurt in Separate Crashes at Same Place

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Two separate drunk-driving accidents at the same intersection in Costa Mesa about an hour apart early Saturday claimed the life of one man and injured three others, police said.

A tractor-trailer truck slammed into the side of a car whose driver allegedly was drunk and had run a red light at Harbor Boulevard and Victoria Street. A passenger in the car was fatally injured, according to police.

As officers arrived to direct traffic, another driver, who was later arrested on suspicion of drunk driving, plowed into the side of a parked police car, said Costa Mesa Police traffic investigator Steven Rautus. The driver was injured but a police officer and a police dog in the patrol car were not seriously hurt.

Hector Esparza-Campos, 21, of Santa Ana, died shortly after the car in which he was riding was struck by the tractor-trailer truck.

The driver of the car, Miguel Viornery, 23, also of Santa Ana, was seen weaving as he headed along Harbor Boulevard. Witnesses told police he speeded up and ran a red light at Victoria Street.

The truck struck with such force that the car was sent across the intersection, ending up on the sidewalk in front of a coffee shop, Rautus said.

The driver of the truck, Gilberto Nunez, 37, suffered neck and back pain and was treated at College Hospital Costa Mesa after his truck, which had been hauling bread, jackknifed.

Esparza-Campos was taken to Fountain Valley Regional Hospital and Medical Center, where he died about 4 a.m. Viornery was taken to United Western Medical Center-Santa Ana with minor to moderate injuries. Neither of the two men was wearing seat belts.

About an hour after the crash, Officer Del Gadillo was sitting in his police car in the intersection with the overhead emergency lights flashing when a car driven by Eddie Valle, 28, of Santa Ana, rammed into him. Gadillo saw Valle's car coming and tried to move the police car out of the way. Valle was hospitalized and held on suspicion of drunk driving.

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