Driver submerged in wetlands after solo vehicle crash ID’d after dying from injuries

Lifeguards respond to a Nov. 20 crash involving a single vehicle submerged in the waters off PCH in Huntington Beach.
Lifeguards respond to a Nov. 20 crash involving a single vehicle submerged in the waters off PCH in Huntington Beach. The driver of the vehicle died Friday from her injuries.
(Courtesy of the Huntington Beach Police Department)

A woman hospitalized last month — after her vehicle became submerged in the wetlands off of Pacific Coast Highway in a solo-vehicle crash in Huntington Beach — died Friday from her injuries, police reported.

An Orange County Sheriff’s Department spokesman confirmed Tuesday the coroner’s office had identified the driver as Breanna Calderon, 29, of Costa Mesa.

The incident took place at around 11 p.m. on the night of Nov. 20, when a gray 2019 Toyota RAV4 apparently lost control south of Warner Avenue and veered off the highway into waters bordering the roadway, Huntington Beach police reported Monday.


Officers and paramedics responding to the incident discovered the vehicle submerged and immediately began rescue efforts.

California State Parks assisted at the scene, providing a team of divers who entered the wetlands to retrieve the driver and performed CPR until fire department personnel took over.

Calderon was transported to UC Irvine Medical Center and was admitted into the intensive care unit with a traumatic brain injury after being submerged underwater for a period of 10 to 15 minutes, according to a GoFundMe page started by her sister to help pay for Calderon’s medical expenses.

She reportedly remained at the hospital in critical but stable condition but died at around 12:30 p.m. on Friday while surrounded by her family, the page reads.

An investigation into the cause of the crash is still ongoing, but Huntington Beach police say preliminary findings indicate the RAV4 was traveling northbound on Pacific Coast Highway when it veered off the highway for unknown reasons. Officials have not determined whether drugs or alcohol may have played a role in the incident.

The investigation is being handled by HBPD’s Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team. Anyone who witnessed the collision or the events leading up to it is encouraged to contact HBPD Traffic Investigator Vishal Rattanchandani at (714) 536-5231.