Police: Fatal crash caused by driving wrong way

Newport Beach police have closed their investigation into a 10-vehicle crash on Coast Highway in January that killed three people, concluding that speed and driving on the wrong side of the road were to blame for the tragedy.

Police closed the investigation this week after the Orange County coroner's office released autopsy and toxicology reports on the death of Julia "Julie" Allen, the 27-year-old driver alleged to have started the deadly chain of events on the arterial road, Sgt. Steve Burdette said. The coroner found antipsychotic medication in her system but no illegal drugs.

Allen, a former track star at Corona del Mar High School, was reported speeding down West Coast Highway along Mariner's Mile in her tan Ford Taurus on Jan. 15. At one point, her car was seen going airborne.

Christopher De La Cruz, 49, of Laguna Niguel, and his mother, Linda Burnett, 69, of Santa Ana, were also killed in the crash.

Traces of the anti-psychotic drugs olanzapine and quetiapine — used to treat bipolar disorder and schizophrenia — were in Allen's system when she died, according to the coroner's report, which noted that she suffered from bipolar disorder.

Though the drugs can cause drowsiness, the publicly released sections of the report and investigation were inconclusive in whether they were partly to blame for Allen's erratic driving.

Allen died from laceration of the brain with massive skull fractures, the autopsy concluded. No traces of marijuana, cocaine or opiates were found in Allen's system.


— Lauren Williams


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