NEWPORT BEACH, California – A horrific accident in Newport Beach on Tuesday night claimed the lives of a young couple and injured their three children, officials said.
Police arrested Grace Elizabeth Coleman, 22, of Newport Beach on suspicion of impaired driving.
Coleman was charged with two counts of second degree murder on Thursday, officials said. She is due to be brought to justice at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana on Thursday afternoon.
Following the violent accident, Coleman was convicted of murder, impaired driving causing bodily harm and a hit and run causing death, according to Heather Rangel, spokesperson for the Newport Beach Police Department.
Prosecutors allege Coleman’s blood alcohol level was over 0.20 percent – nearly three times the legal limit – at the time of Tuesday night’s collision that killed Henry Eduardo Saldana-Mejia, 27, of Santa Ana , and his wife, Gabriela M. Andrade, who would have turned 29 later this month.
The crash happened at 7:46 p.m. Tuesday at Newport Coast Drive and Pelican Hills Road South, outside the Pelican Hill Resort.
Saldana was about to retrieve his belt and shoes at the seaside resort where he worked as a housekeeper to use them for his second job. Sandana, his wife and their three daughters aged 5, 3 and 1 were in the vehicle when a Range Rover collided with their Nissan Versa.
Hugo Gonzalez, who was waiting at the resort with Saldana’s clothes on, says his best friend called him right after the accident.
“I answer the phone and no one answers me, just the kids talking, screaming, but no one answered me. I said ‘hey are you there? What happened?’ and no one answered me. I think that was the last call, ”Gonzalez told FOX 11’s Hailey Winslow.
The young couple were pronounced dead at the scene. Paramedics transported their three young daughters to hospital in critical condition. From now on, the three little girls will now have to grow up without their parents.
A GoFundMe was set up for the couple’s young children.
Saldana and Andrade were Gonzalez and his wife’s best friends… their three daughters the same age as their three sons.
“Maybe 15 minutes before the accident, he told me take care of yourself my brother, be careful, remember you are the breadwinner of your family, take care of yourself. These are the last words that I ‘hear from him,’ said an emotional Gonzalez.
He says Saldana was a good and hardworking man, simply striving to provide for his family.
“Good parents, good husband, good friend,” he described.
Newport Beach Police said after the crash Coleman tried to get away, but officers immediately found and arrested her.
Coleman had previously been arrested in August on suspicion of impaired driving. This matter is still under investigation pending the results of a toxicological report.
Editor’s Note: This story has been corrected to remove information indicating that the suspect driver had previously been convicted of drunk driving. This case is still pending, pending the results of a toxicological report.