Carol Holdsworth and Sharon Jones were lost in Irvine the night of June 10, 2015, after returning by train from a trip to San Diego. They were driving west on an unfamiliar stretch of Alton Parkway, trying to find the freeway on their way home to Torrance.
They heard a loud roar as they approached a red light at Barranca Parkway and then saw two cars traveling at about 70 mph on either side of their car. The car to their right pulled ahead and cut in front of them to enter the far left lane as they neared at least three sets of brake lights at the intersection.
“We’re screaming, ‘He’s not stopping, he’s not stopping,’ ” Jones said Thursday as she testified in Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana.
She said the Ford Mustang roared into the intersection and broadsided a Chevrolet Cruze that had a green light. Holdsworth stopped their car and the two sat in shock.
The testimony came in the trial of Costa Mesa resident Alec Scott Abraham, who is charged with two counts of murder in the deaths of Cruze occupants Katherine Hampton, 54, of Lake Forest and her 2-year-old granddaughter, Kaydence, who were fatally injured in the crash.
Prosecutors accuse Abraham of recklessly racing another car through the red light and leaving the scene of the collision.
Holdsworth and Jones said the second car stopped for a few seconds after the crash before driving off.
“I’m sure some of the other witnesses have a cellphone,” Holdsworth recalled saying to Jones after the collision. “I’m going to try to follow him and see if I can get his license plate.”
Jones said she was unable to take a photo of the license plate because her phone didn’t have a camera.
Defense attorney Houman Fakhimi questioned both witnesses on whether Abraham actually raced another vehicle that night. Neither woman could recall hearing the sound of two engines or seeing the second car slow down, saying they were focused on the Mustang in the seconds before the crash.
Fakhimi also tried to have Holdsworth and Jones pin down the exact portion of Alton Parkway where they first saw the two speeding cars. In his opening statement Tuesday, he referred to the second vehicle as a “phantom car” because there were no security camera footage or skids marks on the road to corroborate witnesses’ statements.
Irvine police Officer Jon Jarrett testified that he responded to the collision after hearing a police dispatcher say the Mustang’s driver had fled the scene. After being told that Abraham had walked off with a bystander’s cellphone, the Police Department was able to ping the device and found it near Alton Parkway and Hughes.
Jarrett asked employees at Teva Pharmaceuticals who were having a smoke break whether they had seen anyone suspicious. Security guards said they saw someone who wasn’t permitted on the property but the person walked off.
The Police Department got another ping from the cellphone at a nearby Public Storage. After searching the property, Jarrett found the phone in a concrete drainage channel in front of the storage facility, he said.
The trial is scheduled to resume Monday morning.