San Clemente Times

A 27-year-old San Clemente woman was arrested early Thursday morning, March 29  after she allegedly drove drunk and struck another vehicle, which killed three people.

Bani Duarte
Bani Duarte

“On Thursday, March 29 at 1:08 a.m., the Huntington Beach Police Department (HBPD) responded to the area of Pacific Coast Highway and Magnolia Street regarding a traffic collision involving two vehicles,” a press release from HBPD stated. “When officers arrived on scene, they saw a vehicle on fire in the intersection. Huntington Beach Fire Department personnel responded to the location and put out the fire. Three victims died on scene as a result of the collision, and the identification of those victims will not be released until next of kin can be notified.”

The press release went on to say one occupant in the vehicle that was struck was transported to a local trauma center with unknown injuries and is listed in stable condition.

Bani Duarte of San Clemente was arrested for vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and driving under the influence causing injury. She was taken into custody at the Huntington Beach Jail.

“Based on the preliminary investigation, it appears a white Hyundai Sonata driven by Duarte was traveling northbound Pacific Coast Highway when she struck a red Toyota that was stopped at the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway and Magnolia,” the release stated.

The investigation is ongoing and is being conducted by the HBPD Major Incident Response Team (MIRT). The incident caused all lanes of Pacific Coast Highway in the immediate area to be shut down for some time.

According to Orange County Sheriff’s Department jail records, Duarte worked as a receptionist. She is being held on $100,000 bail, and she is scheduled to be in court on April 2.

Anyone with information about this collision is asked to contact Huntington Beach Police accident investigator Joshua Page at 714.536.5670. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 714.960.8825.

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