Coroner IDs Fatal Irvine Crash Victims, All Age 14 or 15
The five teens killed in a fiery crash in Irvine that left the 16-year-old driver the lone survivor have been identified, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department announced Wednesday.
After a coroner’s investigation, those killed have been identified as: Jennifer Bahena, 14, of Laguna Hills; Jennifer Campos, 15, of Aliso Viejo; Matthew Ivan Melo, 15, of Mission Viejo; Brandon Alejandro Moreno, 14, of Mission Viejo; and Alejandro Sotelo, 14, of San Juan Capistrano.
Autopsies showed the cause of death for Bahena, Campos and Melo was multiple blunt force trauma injuries as a result of the collision.
The cause of death for Moreno and Sotelo remained pending.
A vigil was held Tuesday evening at Carl Hankey K-8 School in Mission Viejo, where Moreno was a student. Melo was a graduate of the school.
The three boys had grown up together playing soccer; the two girls played water polo at Laguna Hills High School.
The California Highway Patrol, which is investigating, has asked witnesses who saw the BMW sedan prior to the crash — or saw the crash itself — to come forward.
The teens were returning from Knott’s Scary Farm in Buena Park when the vehicle veered off the freeway, struck a guardrail, went up an embankment and then burst into flames.
Driver Bradley Morales was identified in a statement from Children’s Hospital of Orange County at Mission Hospital, where he underwent neurosurgery and was placed in intensive care.
Morales did not have a license or a permit, and was driving a vehicle that appeared to belong to a relative, according to CHP. There were no initial indications that drugs or alcohol was involved, but tests were continuing, a CHP assistant chief said Monday.