A 30-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of felony drunk driving and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated for allegedly triggering a multi-vehicle crash on the Garden Grove (22) Freeway in Garden Grove that killed a 9-year-old girl and a 33-year-old woman on New Year's Day, authorities said.
The suspect, a resident of Orange driving a BMW, was speeding in the HOV lane of the westbound freeway, east of Valley View Street, a little after 12:50 a.m. when he rear-ended a Lexus that was also in the carpool lane, the California Highway Patrol reported.
The Lexus struck the right shoulder of the sound barrier wall, and the BMW then rear-ended a 2010 Ford F-150 pickup truck, causing it to overturn on its right side and skid across all lanes of traffic.
A 2003 Mazda 3 going westbound in the No. 3 lane was struck by the overturned pickup truck and struck the center divider. The pickup continued skidding and struck a guardrail that borders the right shoulder.
The 9-year-old girl, who was a rear passenger in the pickup truck, was pronounced dead at the scene and paramedics rushed the 33-year-old woman to UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange, where she died from her injuries at 1:47 a.m., according to the Orange County Coroner's Office.
The driver in the BMW eventually came to rest against the right shoulder sound barrier wall. The motorists in the Lexus and Mazda were not injured.
The driver, "displaying symptoms of alcohol intoxication, the investigating officer conducted a driving under the influence of alcohol evaluation and determined Party #1 was driving under the influence," the CHP said.
The suspect was medically cleared and taken to the Orange County Jail, where he was booked on suspicion of felony drunk driving and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.