DANA POINT – A portion of Pacific Coast Highway was closed New Year’s morning after a 27-year- old driver struck a traffic pole and died, an Orange County sheriff’s official said. The incident happened around 2:30 a.m. on the northbound highway near Doheny Park Plaza. A man in a 1995 Volvo was driving at high speed on a wet surface when he lost control of his car, Lt. Lloyd Downing said. Sheriff’s coroner later identified the man as Diego Escamilla Lopez of San Juan Capistrano. The car spun and struck a traffic pole, Downing said. Lopez – the only person in the vehicle – was ejected before being swiped by another car on the highway. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The male driver who hit Lopez remained at the scene, Downing said. There was no sign he was intoxicated, and no one was arrested. The sheriff’s Major Accident Response Team is investigating the cause of the incident, including whether Lopez was intoxicated, Downing said. Pacific Coast Highway near the scene was closed in both directions until the southbound lanes reopened at about 7 a.m., Downing said. The northbound lanes reopened at about 9:30 a.m.
By Tomoya Shimura, Orange Country Register
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