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Police Suspect Alcohol a Factor in Fatal Crash

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

A woman killed in a car accident along with her 6-year-old daughter Sunday night is suspected of having been under the influence of alcohol when the crash occurred, authorities said Monday.

Jennifer Abbott, 24, of Trabuco Canyon was southbound in the northbound lanes of the Foothill toll road late Sunday when she lost control of her car, swerving off an overpass near Lake Forest.

Abbott “probably realized she was going in the wrong direction,” said Katrina Lundgren, a California Highway Patrol officer. “She made a turn which took her to the center median.”

Lundgren said Abbott hit a barrier and chain-link fence, and the car vaulted across the road and hit an embankment on the other side.

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The car plunged 40 feet, hitting the ground with such force that it “pancaked,” leaving the Nissan Altima only 3 feet tall. The woman and her daughter were killed instantly.

Although a toxicology examination is under way, CHP officials believe the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Orange County recorded three traffic-related fatalities and 89 DUI arrests over Thanksgiving Day weekend, said Sgt. Robert Thompson. Last year, the CHP reported no deaths over the same time in Orange County, and 93 DUI arrests, CHP Sgt. Rick Stewart said.

Statewide, there were 1,433 DUI arrests, compared with 1,408 DUI arrests for last year’s holiday weekend. The CHP’s statistics cover the 102-hour period from 6 p.m. Wednesday through midnight Sunday.

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Statewide, 43 traffic deaths were reported during the 102-hour-long weekend, compared to 36 for last year’s holiday, according to final statistics issued Monday.

Times wire services contributed to this report.


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