UPDATE: Canyon Crash Victims Identified; Third Driver Being Sought

Two men were killed and another was injured in the two-car accident early Tuesday.

UPDATE, WEDNESDAY APRIL 3: Both victims of the crash have been identified. They are Alberto Casique-Salinas, 46, of Anaheim, and Armando Garcia-Gonzales, 38, of Santa Ana.

KTLA identified Robert M. Pettis, a Laguna Beach ear, nose and throat doctor, as the driver of the Tesla.

The driver of a third car, a Mercedes Benz, who was not at the scene when emergency crews arrived, is being sought for questioning by Laguna Beach police. Something had apparently occurred between Pettis and the driver of the Mercedes, which caused Pettis to swerve into the southbound lane and collide head on with the Honda.

The all-electric Tesla weighs 4,700 pounds, while the Honda Accord weighs 2,700, according to Laguna Beach Police Capt. Jason Kravetz.

Sgt. Louise Callus of the LBPD tells Patch that alcohol does not appear to be a factor.


UPDATE, 9:43 P.M. TUESDAY: The passenger in the Honda has been identified as 38-year-old Armando Garcia-Gonzales. The driver's name is still being withheld, pending notification of next of kin.

ORIGINAL POST: Two men were killed this morning in a head-on collision on Laguna Canyon Road that involved a Tesla, authorities said.

The collision occurred about 6:40 a.m. on Laguna Canyon Road between El Toro Road and the 73 toll road, Laguna Beach police Sgt. Louise Callus said.

Two men in a Honda Accord died at the scene. Their names were withheld, pending notification of their next of kin. The driver of the other vehicle, a Tesla, was taken to Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo for treatment of minor injuries.

According to the preliminary investigation, the northbound Tesla "for an unknown reason, veered into oncoming traffic," Callus stated. The Laguna Beach Police Department is being assisted by the Orange County Crime Lab in the investigation of the incident.

Laguna Canyon Road was closed in the area while an investigation was conducted, a closure that was continuing nearly three hours afterward.


-- City News Service

Sterling April 03, 2013 at 06:15 PM
I simply commented on how the merge lane is a nightmare when you an idiot that wont let you in. I have had a soccer mom box me in, i had to stop in those bushes. My sister and I were scared. So way to take my words and use them as an excuse for this man in the tesla. If the other guy who he raced did not allow for him to get him, then how should he not be questioned? He too was driving recklessly which caused a death of these 2 men.
Rich Kane April 03, 2013 at 07:08 PM
We have a new update at the top of the page ...
LagunaVahine April 03, 2013 at 08:26 PM
Sterling, relax, my comment wasn't directed at you. It just seems like there was a battle between the two cars to merge first & there seems to be an emphasis in finding the Mercedes driver.
myoung April 03, 2013 at 11:17 PM
Thanks for the update Rich. Why is driving faster than someone else so important ? These two drivers that caused the accident need to come forward and talk about their actions so that all drivers can consider how they drive and what the consequences of their actions may become.
RiverBoatQueen April 04, 2013 at 02:48 AM
So we're missing a Mercedes driver - that missing driver is a real piece-of-work! She or he MUST have witnessed the accident (or may be culpable in causing the wreck), and then they simply ditched their responsibilities and left the scene (which is felony hit-and-run.) At least the Tesla driver stuck around and got to tell what happened. If there are any witnesses who happened to catch a partial plate on the Mercedes, NOW would be the time to speak up! Bless those who died / and their families. There will be a roadside shrine and I'll be sure to leave some flowers next time that I pass through the area.
crista April 04, 2013 at 03:25 AM
My boyfriend was the only one at the time on the other side of the road just seconds before this all happened. He was at the light facing these 2 cars on the opposite side and said they were reving their engines and took off at high speeds racing. He said there was definitely a sporty mercedes involved because he saw them. Apparently after they took off racing he was watching them in his rear view mirror and said right when the lane merged he saw the tesla veer and then he couldnt see them anymore. Rifht away he said he had a bad feeling and hoped nothing happened. The scary part is that if he was just a few seconds later it would have been him that was hit. It is a very scary feeling. These 2 drivers should both be held responsible for these 2 innocent mens deaths. I could not imagine what these 2 mens families are going through. It makes me so horribly sad to see things like this happen.
Usonian April 04, 2013 at 06:46 AM
The merge on both sides of that traffic light is awful. I live in Laguna Beach and drive that road daily and can't tell you how many times someone will try to cut someone off just to get one or two cars ahead of someone especially when approaching the light coming into Laguna, or for that matter leaving the light heading onto the 133. Going into Laguna, the road goes from one lane to two for about 500 ft and then back to one again and in that 500 ft., the number of jerks who try to cut you off just to get ahead of you by 1 or 2 cars is unreal. It makes you wonder if they would act that way if they didn't have two tons of steel around them, Tesla, Mercedes, or whatever. They would't act that way in a supermarket line!
Rich Kane April 04, 2013 at 08:46 AM
Thanks for your comments, Crista ....
Rich Kane April 04, 2013 at 08:49 AM
Usonian: Totally agree. I'm old enough to remember before there was a traffic light at El Toro, and the canyon road was even worse, with people driving it as if it was an 8-lane freeway ... which they still kind of do today.
Rich Kane April 04, 2013 at 08:51 AM
Sara Sandoval: Could you email me at rich.kane@patch.com? Thanks ...
carlos alejandre April 04, 2013 at 02:35 PM
PLEASE! tell your boyfriend to report this the Laguna Beach Police Department! IMMEDAITEDLY!!!
Deborah Gonzalez April 04, 2013 at 03:59 PM
The Tesla is an electric car, has no engine, thus no revving possible.
crista April 04, 2013 at 04:12 PM
Im assuming the mercedes was what my boyfriend was reffering to with the reving. He said it looked modified and was a sportier version. I was not there that day and was only going off of what was said of what he saw. I also do not ever take that eoad so Im un aware of how it is.
Marisol Garcia April 04, 2013 at 06:55 PM
Crista, please thank your boyfriend for making a police report. Thank you all for your condolences. My cousin was a hard working man, a family man. Armando always made me laugh. He will be missed. To Alberto's family, we feel your pain. May God bless them both. All I ask for is justice. Those who caused this should man up and suffer the concequences. If any of you know of anything new please contact me through my email marisol_garcia05@yahoo.com
crista April 05, 2013 at 01:39 AM
You are very welcome marisol. We knew it was the right thing to do so the people who were responsible would pay for the innocent lives they have taken. I know that your cousin and friend will never be forgotten and my prayers are with your family. May these 2 men rest in peace in heaven.
Engines April 05, 2013 at 06:26 PM
soooo the Tesla has no engine huh?....what's it got inside that moves it?... a bunch of mice. You are silly and grossly misinformed Deborah!
MH April 06, 2013 at 01:05 AM
The Tesla has an electric motor with one gear that is always engaged when the vehicle is on. It cannot rev up. It doesn't make any noise that can be heard from across an intersection.
Stollef April 06, 2013 at 05:12 PM
LB Police Employees Association raising fund for the families The Laguna Beach Police Employees Association has started to raise money to assist the surviving family members of the deceased men. Those in the community who wish to make a donation can mail a check made out to Alberto and Armando Memorial and sent to LBPEA, PO Box 4611, Laguna Beach, CA 92652.
crista April 06, 2013 at 09:17 PM
A tesla has 400 horespower and can easily be heard when it takes off. Electric motor or not.
Deborah Gonzalez April 07, 2013 at 07:01 AM
" In common usage, an engine burns or otherwise consumes fuel, and is differentiated from an electric motor that derives power without changing the composition of matter." By the way, I looked in my frunk and lo an behold there are no mice only hamsters.
Daniel Bustamante April 08, 2013 at 03:28 PM
I am a family friend of Armando Garcia. The Garcia family would like to speak with Alberto's family to create a memorial for them. Please contact me at ocdrb@yahoo.com.
Rich Kane April 08, 2013 at 10:34 PM
Crash update: Mercedes driver questioned; Laguna Canyon Road to be closed for four hours tomorrow (Tuesday) for further investigation. http://patch.com/A-328Y
BlamBoom April 09, 2013 at 08:44 PM
Mine sounds more like a Jetson's car when it takes off...so yeah, a person inside another car right next to me would never know if I "gunned" it. If your boyfriend heard any revving it was from the Mercedes. When I "rev" my "gas" it just sits there and makes this awesome silent sound.
BlamBoom April 09, 2013 at 08:50 PM
Just to be clear if they were racing they both need to go to Jail. I am just saying if your boyfriend goes to court and says he heard the Tesla "revving" his testimony will be tossed right out. All he needs to say is he saw them take off in an obvious dick racing contest and nobody won because they both had tiny dicks.
BlamBoom April 09, 2013 at 08:54 PM
It absolutely has no engine. Welcome to the world of being embarrassed on the internet.
Harry Kazakian April 10, 2013 at 07:10 PM
Dear Crista, my name id Harry Kazakian, I am a private investigator CA State PI License number 22511; I have been retained by a law office representing the driver of the Honda Accord, I will truly appreciate if I can be in contact with your boyfriend and talk to him briefly about what he saw that day. My contact information is 1 877 872 3977 Ext 107 / USA Express Legal & Investigative Services Inc. His much needed help will be golden for the family. Very truly yours Harry,
Harry Kazakian April 10, 2013 at 07:16 PM
Dear Marisol, my name is Harry Kazakian, I am a private investigator CA State PI License 22511, I have been retained by the law office representing the driver of Honda. We have conducted an extensive investigations, I would like to assist Armando's family in providing our investigative report, if interested, please contact me or have his family contact me. My toll free number is 1 877 872 3977 Ext 107. Very truly yours / Harry K / USA Express Legal & Investigative Services, Inc. / www.usaexpressinc.com
Richard Wielder May 05, 2013 at 08:31 AM
To BlamBoom; While the terms engine and motor are very similar and considered by many to be fungible, some refer to fossil fuel power plants as "engines"and to electric power plants as "motors." It's a matter of semantics, but many would argue that Deborah's statement that "The Tesla is an electric car, has no engine, thus no revving possible" is accurate. If you accept the definitions of engine and motor above, it is absolutely correct. Moreover, a Tesla cannot rev it's power plant. Pressing the accelerator with the car in park or neutral does not make it turn. During heavy acceleration the motor makes a faint sound, which would probably not be audible over the sound of the tires, or the revving of the Mercedes. But I wonder what kind of sadistic gratification a person like BlamBoom derives from castigating someone for the syntax of their comment about an horrific, fatal accident? Who should be embarrassed by their thoughtless, callous, gratuitous and arguably incorrect comment? I suspect it is that of a narcissist who regularly says things worthy of scorn and shame though such people are often oblivious to to the contemptible nature of their utterances, expressed with such sound and furry, signifying nothing. The accident was a heartbreaking tragedy. The comment of BlamBoom is a sad commentary on the vile way the wonderful public forum the internet provides is abused by egotists and idiots. I am saddened by both.
Richard Wielder May 05, 2013 at 08:44 AM
to Engines: My comment applies to you as well. In fact, congratulations on being the first to make a fool of yourself. At worst, Deborah did not express herself eloquently, though I still say her comment is not wrong, depending on how you define engine and motor. But what is the value of blasting a person who expressed a valid point in a way that might be interpreted in more than one way, especially when the words at the core of the controversy are vague and considered interchangeable by some, but not all people. Maybe you are the silly and grossly misinformed one. You sure are petty and arrogant.
Kevin Smith August 06, 2013 at 09:29 AM
So who was at fault ? Is the investigation over?


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