At about 2 a.m. on Saturday, October 4, 2014, Alex Sotelo, Matthew Melo, Brandon Moreno, Jenny Campos, and Jenny Bahena, all teenagers, were killed in a fiery crash in Irvine, reported the Orange County Register. While traveling southbound on the 5 Freeway in a 1995 BMW sedan, 16-year-old Bradley Morales veered from the road, crashed into a guardrail, and went up an embankment between Sand Canyon Avenue and Alton Parkway. The car burst into flames, badly burning the young passengers. Morales, who did not have a driver’s license, was ejected from the vehicle and suffered major trauma. The group was on their way home from Knott’s Scary Farm at the time of the crash. Authorities suspect that speed may have been a contributing factor and are investigating the accident.
On Sunday night, hundreds of people gathered to mourn the teenagers at Capistrano Valley High School in Mission Viejo, where Sotelo and Melo had been ninth graders. Moreno was an eighth grader at Carl Hankey Middle School. Sotelo, Menlo, and Moreno had been teammates on the Mission Viejo Soccer Club. Campos and Bahena were students at Laguna Hills High School, where they played on the water polo team.
Unfortunately, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States. Drivers aged 16 to 19 are three times more likely than drivers aged 20 and older to be involved in fatal accidents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Every day in 2010, seven teens lost their lives in vehicle collisions. Inexperience behind the wheel, a tendency toward risk-taking and speeding, and a failure to wear seatbelts are all factors contributing to the high rate of fatal crashes among teenagers. When teen passengers accompany teen drivers, the risk of a crash increases with the number of passengers.
After a fatal accident, the families of the victims may hold the responsible parties liable for their loss through the civil claims process. For more information, please call 888-752-7474 or contact us online.
All of us at Allen, Flatt, Ballidis, and Leslie would like to offer our condolences to the families of Alex Sotelo, Matthew Melo, Brandon Moreno, Jenny Campos, and Jenny Bahena. We would also like to wish a full recovery to Bradley Morales.
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