Woman killed in Laguna Beach car crash identified

LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- A woman killed in a car crash while driving with her two kids in Laguna Beach on Sunday has been identified as 31-year-old Sandra Maldonado.

Maldonado was killed after a car traveling in the opposite direction sideswiped her, causing both cars to spin out of control. The 86-year-old driver of the second vehicle was gravely injured.

The incident occurred near Laguna Canyon and El Toro roads at about 12:30 a.m. Laguna Beach police say Maldonado was traveling eastbound on El Toro Road with her 5-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter when their black 1995 Toyota Corolla collided with a 2005 Honda Pilot that was traveling westbound. The Honda spun out, rolled off the road and came to rest on its wheels in nearby bushes.

A 911 caller told dispatchers he had pulled the children from the car and put them in his vehicle until paramedics arrived.

"I found that very touching because they're not having to sit there and see what's going on with their mother, and he got them out of the area as quickly as possible," said Laguna Beach police Capt. Jason Kravetz.

Firefighters had to physically extract both motorists from their respective vehicles, the Laguna Beach Police Department said in a press release.

Maldonado, a resident of Mission Viejo, was rushed to Mission Hospital Trauma Center, where she succumbed to her injuries. Her two children were treated for minor injuries at Western Medical Center in Santa Ana and released to relatives.

"When I received the call and heard that a mother had passed away and her kids were actually in the car, it's disheartening to think that, you know, on Mother's Day the two children are losing their mother," said Laguna Beach police Sgt. Tim Kleiser. "It's a sad day, especially for the children."

The occupants of the Honda were identified as an 86-year-old Laguna Woods man and his wife. He was transported to Mission Hospital in grave condition. His wife was not injured in the collision.

Investigators say alcohol or drugs do not appear to be a factor. Skid marks were found on the road following the crash.

El Toro Road reopened at about 7 a.m. Sunday after being shut down for most of the night.

Anyone with further information on this incident was urged to contact Kravetz at jkravetz@lagunabeachcity.net or (949) 497-0307.

City News Service and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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