Laguna Beach detectives on Tuesday were still trying to locate a woman who three days earlier had crashed into multiple cars — ending a chase with a bang in the library parking lot — after people ran from a hotel where the use of an apparently stolen credit card had been reported, police said.
The woman, driving a Cadillac Escalade, reportedly hit 11 cars along North Coast Highway and South Coast Highway on Saturday after police responded to a report of alleged credit card fraud at the Laguna Beach House hotel, at 475 N. Coast Hwy., Sgt. Tim Kleiser wrote in an email.
A Kansas resident, who was not a hotel guest, reported his credit card had been used to pay for a room, police said. Officers arrived at the hotel a few minutes before 11 a.m. and saw four people jump from the second-story balcony, Kleiser said.
Police detained two of them, including an Anaheim resident. Police identified her as Lauren Rivero, 20. She was arrested on suspicion of involvement in a separate theft in Los Angeles, said police, who had a warrant for her arrest.
Police believed that the woman in the Escalade had rented the hotel room, Kleiser said. Officers tried to speak with her, but she drove around them and fled.
An hour later, police tried to stop the Escalade near Aster Street and North Coast Highway, but the woman drove into oncoming traffic and hit two cars, beginning a string of crashes along the state highway, authorities said.
The Escalade hit three cars near the intersection of Broadway Street and North Coast Highway, five cars in the 100 and 200 blocks of South Coast Highway and one car along Park Avenue, according to police. Kleiser said the car on Park was parked, but he did not say whether the other cars were stopped or moving.
Two people complained of pain from a crash near Broadway and North Coast Highway, but police provided no further details on the extent of their injuries. They were the only people reported injured.
The driver eventually crashed the Escalade into a cement pillar in the parking lot of the Laguna Beach Library, at 363 Glenneyre St., and fled on foot, Kleiser said. Two passengers were detained and later released.
Librarian Pamela Chesney-Algar described the crash as a “great bang that shook the back of the building.”
“Patrons immediately got up and, once everyone knew something was going on, looked out the window,” Chesney-Algar said.
Kleiser said the driver probably escaped through the Escalade’s passenger side since the driver’s side door was pinned against the pillar.
Bryce Alderton, firstname.lastname@example.org