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Lawsuits & Litigation

Newport Beach DUI Crash Results in Wrongful Death Lawsuit

— January 7, 2021

The family of Henry Saldana Mejia, 27, and Gabriela Andrade, 28 recently filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Newport Beach and a few individuals.

Newport Beach and a handful of others were recently named in a wrongful death lawsuit over a fatal car accident that claimed the lives of Henry Saldana Mejia, 27, and his wife, Gabriela Andrade, 28. The couple left behind three daughters, ages one, four, and five. The suit was filed in Orange County Superior Court and names “Newport Beach resident Grace Elizabeth Coleman, the suspected DUI driver arrested in the Dec. 8 collision, and her parents, James and Kelli Coleman, as defendants.”

Newport Beach
Newport Beach; image courtesy of 12019 via Pixabay,

In addition to being named in the lawsuit, Grace Coleman, 22, is facing five felony counts, including two for murder, two for driving under the influence of alcohol, and one for a hit and run collision. If convicted of all charges, Ms. Coleman may spend nearly 35 years in prison, according to the Orange County district attorney’s office.

The incident happened back on December 8 around 7:45 p.m. near Newport Coast Drive and South Pelican Hill Road. According to a spokeswoman for the department, officers “found a collision involving Coleman’s black Range Rover and a Nissan Versa.” While Mejia and Andrade died at the scene of the accident, the three children were in the “backseat and taken to a hospital to be treated for injuries.” All three have “since been released from Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo and are being cared for by their aunt, Dayana Saldana Meija.”

How did the accident happen, though? Well, according to the district attorney’s office, the crash “happened when Coleman ran a red light…her blood-alcohol level was more than 0.20%.”

The suit argues Grace and her parents are guilty of negligence and wrongful death. It further states that Grace “had a duty to not improperly operate her vehicle and that her parents should have known of the possibility that their daughter may drive under the influence.” It turns out Grace has driven a car under the influence “at least twice in Laguna Beach, once in June 2019 and again in August last year,” according to the suit. In August she was “arrested on suspicion of DUI…and was charged with misdemeanor DUI counts for that accident.”

As part of the recent wrongful death suit, attorneys and the family are seeking monetary damages for economic and emotional damages.

On January 27, Coleman is expected to appear at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana for arraignment. For now, she remains in custody.


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