Woman faces DUI, murder charges after Newport Beach crash leaves parents dead, 3 children hospitalized

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Three small girls are in the hospital in serious condition Wednesday after a Newport Beach crash the night before left both their parents dead, officials and family members said.

The driver of an SUV that struck the family’s Nissan faces DUI and murder charges, but has not been officially booked or charged yet and remains at the hospital under police supervision, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

The driver was identified by police as 22-year-old Grace Coleman of Newport Beach. She was the only person in the SUV, initially described as a Range Rover.

About 7:45 p.m. Tuesday, officers responded to the area of South Pelican Hill Road and Newport Coast Drive, where a Nissan and the SUV had collided, Newport Beach Police Department spokeswoman Heather Rangel said.

Coleman is believed to have run a red light, and then to have gotten out of her SUV and tried to flee the scene after the crash, Rangel said.

The Nissan was carrying the three children, ages 1, 4 and 5, along with the two adults who died at the scene, officials said.

The deceased have been identified as 28-year-old Gabriela Andrade, a passenger, and 27-year-old Henrry Saldana-Mejia, who was the driver, according to a coroner’s report, which said they were from Santa Ana. The DA’s office indicated they were from Garden Grove.

Authorities were not yet releasing information on the relationship between the children and the deceased adults, but family members told KTLA that the two adults were husband and wife, and were the parents of the three young girls in the car.

Loved ones said the family of five was going to pick up a paycheck, while a GoFundMe page created for funeral expenses said the couple and their children were looking at Christmas lights. Another GoFundMe page was also set up for the girls’ future expenses.

Grace Coleman is shown in a booking photo from an Aug. 29, 2020, arrest by Laguna Beach police.
Grace Coleman is shown in a booking photo from an Aug. 29, 2020, arrest by Laguna Beach police.

The DA’s office said they expect to charge the driver on Thursday, adding that she can be formally arraigned at the hospital as long as she is conscious.

Coleman was previously arrested on suspicion of DUI in August by police in Laguna Beach, and court records indicate she was charged with DUI and having a blood alcohol content over .08% in that incident.

State records for the plates on the SUV Coleman was driving indicate it was a 2010 Land Rover.

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