Two-Car Crash in Laguna Canyon Kills Drivers


Two motorists were killed early Tuesday when a driver crossed the center line and slammed into an oncoming car along a stretch of Laguna Canyon Road, police said. The violence of the collision hurled one of the drivers through the back window of his vehicle to the roadway, where he was struck and dragged by another oncoming car, officers said.

The canyon road was closed in both directions for nearly five hours after the 6 a.m. crash, which occurred near its junction with the San Diego Freeway.

Bennie Earnest Wilson, 27, of Los Angeles was heading south on Laguna Canyon Road when he lost control of his 1989 Honda Accord, crossed into the opposing lane and struck a 1996 Saturn driven by Charles Ray Cochran, 57, of Aliso Viejo, said California Highway Patrol Officer Bruce Lian.

Police said it appeared Wilson was traveling at “unsafe speeds” along the rain-slicked roadway. Officers said he was not wearing a seat belt and was thrown into the path of an oncoming Camaro. Wilson was pronounced dead at the scene.


Cochran was rushed to Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center, where he died. His wife, Scarlet Joan Cochran, was treated for head injuries and listed in fair condition at the Mission Viejo hospital.

Wilson’s passenger, Michael Anderson of Los Angeles, was treated and released.

The accident remains under investigation. According to CHP statistics, five people were killed in car wrecks along Laguna Canyon Road between the freeway and the San Joaquin Hills toll road from 1995 to September 2000.