Driving south on the 5 freeway from Anaheim to Irvine–where police in each city run separate DUI checkpoints tonight–you will pass through Santa Ana, which is where this story actually begins.
Garret James McKinnon was involved in a car chase with police in pursuit on July 25, 2013, when he crashed into three other vehicles, causing his ride to overturn near Garfield and Brown streets in Santa Ana. Six people, including McKinnon, were injured.
As a result of the collision, McKinnon was convicted of driving under the influence and evading a peace officer, resulting in his drivers license being suspended and–worse–a five-year prison sentence.
Fast-forward to this past Saturday, June 23, after 11 p.m., when a Santa Ana cop monitoring traffic at Flower and St. Gertrude streets watched a speeding black SUV blow through a stop sign while heading south on Flower. The officer followed the SUV to the Flower-Warner Avenue intersection, where it sped through a red light and collided with four other vehicles.
A passenger in the SUV suffered major injuries, while another in one of the crashed-into vehicles sustained significant wounds, according to the Santa Ana Police Department, which adds the victims were taken to hospitals but are expected to survive.
As for the driver who started it all in the black SUV? After he crawled out of the overturned vehicle, officers instructed him to sit on the curb. Then he ran off, only to be taken into custody without incident after a short foot chase. He was later identified as McKinnon.
After being released from the hospital and booked on an outstanding no bail probation violation warrant, McKinnon was charged with felony hit and run collision, DUI causing great bodily injury, resisting arrest, driving with a revoked drivers license and sentencing enhancements for two counts of great bodily injury. The warrant has a bail of $150,000.
The PD released horrific video from the first crash and disturbing images from the second:
Cops in Irvine conduct a sobriety checkpoint of their own from 8:30 p.m. through 2 a.m. in the area of Bake Parkway and Rockfield Boulevard.
Each operation is funded by separate grants awarded by the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.