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Car crashes into Sunset Beach bar, on stretch of PCH famous for collisions

Damage can be seen at Turcs Cocktails in Sunset Beach after a vehicle collided with the bar early Friday morning.
Damage can be seen at Turcs Cocktails in Sunset Beach after a vehicle crashed into the bar early Friday morning. Two female occupants of the vehicle were hospitalized with injuries.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)
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Huntington Beach police are investigating a collision that took place early Friday morning, when a vehicle crashed into a bar on Pacific Coast Highway, causing both the driver and a passenger to be hospitalized with injuries.

Police spokeswoman Jessica Cuchilla said the incident took place sometime after 1 a.m. outside Turcs Cocktails, located in Sunset Beach near Surfside, when a white 2001 Honda Accord lost control and struck the building.

“Both the driver and the passenger were transported to the hospital for injuries after complaining of pain,” she said Friday, indicating both occupants were adult women. “Police are investigating if there were any alcohol or drugs involved in this incident.”

Because the occupants of the vehicle were hospitalized, normal field sobriety tests could not be performed at the scene, Cuchilla continued, and as of Friday afternoon there were no criminal charges pending, despite an ongoing investigation.

Bob Campregher shows engineer Aurea Hoad Turcs Cocktails, red-tagged Friday after a vehicle drove into the structure.
Bob Campregher shows engineer Aurea Hoad the corner of Turcs Cocktails, red-tagged Friday after a vehicle drove into the structure shortly after 1 a.m.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

Turcs owner Bob Campregher — who was at the site Friday afternoon, consulting with a structural engineer about the red-tagged building — confirmed the business was not open at the time of the crash, having closed at around midnight.

Campregher got a phone call from his bartender informing him of the incident. By the time police officers called him, he was already on his way to the scene.

“They figure she was going pretty fast,” he said of the driver Friday, indicating that although she was reportedly driving southbound on the highway, her vehicle ended up facing north against the bar after shattering windows and breaking a beam that supported the building’s second floor.

“She lost it, like everyone else going around that corner — it’s a famous spot.”

Turcs Cocktails in Sunset Beach was closed Friday after a vehicle collided with the bar shortly after 1 a.m.
Turcs Cocktails in Sunset Beach was closed Friday after a vehicle collided with the bar shortly after 1 a.m., causing a driver and passenger to be hospitalized with injuries.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

The bar is situated on the southwest corner of where the CA-1 is intersected by Anderson Street, near a portion of the highway that curves suddenly for southbound motorists and can be hard to see in the dark.

Friday’s incident is just the latest in a string of late-night collisions that date back years. Taco Surf, a restaurant less than 400 feet north of Turcs in Surfside, was hit twice by vehicles in the span of less than one year.

On March 10, 2021, at around 1:45 a.m., a pickup truck hydroplaned toward Taco Surf and crashed into the building before fleeing the scene, according to video surveillance camera. The collision caused structural damage that required months of renovations.

A vehicle crashed into a Taco Surf restaurant on PCH in Surfside in February, less than a year after an earlier crash.
(Courtesy of Facebook user)

Then, just a couple of months after the rebuilding was complete, a second driver crashed into the restaurant, causing only minor damage but injuring one of the vehicle’s occupants critically.

Campregher, 76, who’s owned Turcs since 1983, said a driver in his 20s was traveling over 100 mph the night of Dec. 19, 2019, when he lost control of the vehicle and slammed into a light pole at the intersection with such force the car’s rear and front bumpers were touching.

Another late-night collision more than a decade earlier also involved a direct hit to the building and required some reconstruction. Campregher credited high speeds and low visibility for the crashes and said stoplights that worked normally during the day but blinked red late at night might help.

“Getting Caltrans to get something in there, though, that’s like pulling teeth,” he said.

Although Turcs Cocktails has been boarded up and red-tagged, Campregher said he’s eager to start rebuilding as soon as possible and is looking forward to meeting with an insurance adjuster early next week.

“I’m not going to wait that long,” he said Friday. “I’ve got to get back open.”

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