Editor's note: Updated to include more detail, clarify facts. Originally posted Dec. 8, 1:45 a.m.
By Martin Henderson
Less than 24 hours after four people suffered fatal injuries in a car accident in San Clemente that may have been attributed to speed and alcohol, five teenage girls were injured—two of them critically—when speed may have played a role in a crash in Rancho Santa Margarita, according to authorities.
The incident occurred on Melinda Road as the vehicle, with teens inside ranging in age from 16 to 19, headed toward Santa Margarita Parkway. But at the bend in the road at Paseo Alegria, the black Mercedes sedan continued straight, crossing lanes of traffic, jumping the curb and plowing up an embankment, said Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Steve Concialdi.
The car ran through a small tree before coming to rest after hitting a large one after traveling about 40 feet off the road, Concialdi said.
The accident occurred Saturday, 10:53 p.m. The vehicle just missed a monument sign for the Cortesia apartments.
Two of the girls were transported to the trauma center at Mission Regional Hospital in critical condition, Concialdi said. Two with moderate injuries were transported to Western Medical Center in Santa Ana and one with mild injuries was taken to Saddleback Hospital.
He said two of the girls had to be extricated from the wreckage, which he called "horrific."
Melinda Road was closed at the crash scene in both directions for a couple of hours for the OCSD's major accident investigation team.—City News Service contributed to this story.