Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Woman showing Corvette to would-be buyer dies in Laguna Hills crash [Updated]

A woman was killed and her passenger injured Wednesday morning when her sports car crashed in Laguna Hills while she was driving it for a prospective buyer, officials said.

The Laguna Hills woman was driving her 2003 Chevrolet Corvette at high speed when she apparently lost control of the car while turning off Lake Forest Drive onto Mill Creek Drive, said Orange County sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino.

The car hit a curb, careened off a tree and broadsided another tree before coming to a stop, Amormino said.

“We don’t have an estimate of how fast [she was driving], but speed is definitely factor,” he said.

The driver, who was in her 20s, was pronounced dead at the scene. Her identity was being withheld until her family was notified of her death. [Updated at 3:04 p.m.: Amormino identified her as Amy Thomas, 29, a mother of four from Laguna Hills.]

The prospective buyer, a woman in her late 20s, was taken to a nearby hospital with moderate injuries, Amormino said. [Updated, 9:06 p.m.: Orange County sheriff's officials now say the injured passenger was a man.]

-- Alexandra Zavis

Comments () | Archives (27)

This is really sad, but what was she thinking? A woman can NOT handle an automobile at high speeds!! Now due to her poor judgement, her four kids will grow up without a mother!!

I wonder if the driver was wearing her seat belt at the time of the accident. And also hope that she was not showboating. She could have killed an innocent person. I always preach to my 4 kids to always wear their seat belts. God Bless.

My heart goes out to Ms. Thomas' family, especially her four children. While the whole point of having a sports car is speed in this instance, making a sharp turn while going too fast can also cause the loss of control and balance over the car. More than than 1,000 Americans are killed in speeding crashes every month. Driving too fast, even if you're in a race track, is always a risk.

Oh really @ Posted by: Jefferson!
Does your assessment include:
Shawna Robinson (Winston Cup), Danica Patrick (Indy 500), Janet Guthrie (also Indy 500), Oh, don't forget about Shirley Muldowney, the legendary NHRA drag racing star, then there’s Toronto-born Kay Petre who dueled Gwenda Stewart for the Brooklands Ladies lap speed record topping out over 130 miles per hour, Leilani Muller took on Nextel Cup champions Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth, Lyn St. James was the first woman to be awarded Indy 500 Rookie of the Year in 1992, how about Ashley, Brittney and Courtney Force who currently tear up the tracks just like their famous father, John Force. Should I continue way back to Miss Elfrieda Mais who attacked Wichita, Kansas West Side Speedway July 4th, 1916... oh yeah, she also soloed a biplane at age 18.
Buddy, you sure put your foot in your mouth. Perhaps because you're just one more armchair loudmouth planted in front of the TV on NASCAR weekends with one of those beer hats feeding you intellijuice? Let us know when you get your vintage Pinto up to a brave 63 MPH. We'll all applaud the event.

Jefferson, uh, ever heard of Danica Patrick? Or Nascar? Or perhaps you saw her on the Superbowl commercial? There's tons of women not as famous as D. Patrick but just as involved in all types of racing.

i could see this news headline coming... "GM recalls Corvettes for stuck gas pedals"


Jefferson - jeez.
Did you really have to bring gender into this?
Danica Patrick would like to have a word with you.
Afterwards, Google, "Shirley Muldowney" before exposing how sexist you are again.

Excuse me, Jefferson! "A woman can NOT handle an automobile at high speeds!!" I am a woman and I can handle an automobile at "high speeds!" However I choose only to do so where it is safe and legal. And I ALWAYS wear a seat belt.

They don't give details of the accident but I suspect she might not have been wearing her seat belt. Due to their construction, Vettes aren't the safest ride to be in in a crash.

Please everyone, ALWAYS WEAR YOUR SEAT BELT even if you are just driving to the corner store! And make sure your passengers wear theirs too. My rule, I won't turn on engine until everyone is belted in!!!

My heart goes out to her family.

First of all, her being a woman, Jefferson, had nothing to do with this terrible tragidy. Anybody not experienced with a muscle car that floors it is going to have problems handling the car. If the driver does not know what they are doing, man or woman, (and that could even include you Jefferson) could end up as this mother of four did.

This is indeed tragic, and if speed was a factor, almost certainly preventable. But Jefferson, have you never heard of Shirley Muldowney or Danica Patrick? I don't see the justification for your sexist comment.

"This is really sad, but what was she thinking? A woman can NOT handle an automobile at high speeds!! Now due to her poor judgement, her four kids will grow up without a mother!!"

What a ridiculous statement!
Lots of women and men can handle cars at high speeds and lots of men and women can't. Period.

It wouldn't take long to find a lengthy list of fatal accidents involving speed and male drivers.

It appears that Jefferson can't handle the fancy highspeed world of
internet chat.......he has driven straight into a ditch.

Sympathy to the family of the woman killed.

I guess what they meant to say was women driving at high speeds while wearing high heels or platforms. My mom just hit 70 (years not mph) and since I can remember was a very good driver, not as good as the pops, but good enough to get us past a roadside blockade made by roadside bandits down in Michoacan, MX. Now at this age her driving skills are starting to diminish but still trust her enough to send my kids with her to do grocery runs.

I saw this crash after it happened I worked right down the street.

Seatbelt would not have saved her. The driver's side door slammed into the tree at a high rate of speed, crushing the car on that side. Belt or no belt, there was no surviving the crash. The OC Register has some photos up for those who want to see the kind of impact there was. It was one of the worst crashes I've ever seen-- and I drove past the Coble crash where the semi rear-ended the mini van killing three children in the back.

The Vette was just destroyed. I pulled up, got out of my car and the first thing I saw was the sheet covering the driver, it was unreal and incredibly sad. I almost lost it when I was talking to Mr. Amormino about the crash after the scene was all wrapped up.

As for that sexist comments. Men make up 70% of driving deaths even though women are more likely to crash. Why? We crash in parking lots-- you crash at high speeds. So before you judge her consider your own chances of death compared to her's or any other women. I would also like to invite you to come with me to the racetrack Willow Springs on Wednesday the 3rd and get instruction from a former ALMS champion and the best driver I know-- Judy Ray. A woman.

This is a really sad story . But in reality women are better responsible driver than man. The percentage of rush driving death is far lower of women compare to man.This is one of the reason most of all insurance company take lower premium charge to a woman than a man.

Everyone is offended by Jefferson's comment about women drivers, but no one refutes him for his more inappropriate comment, "Now due to poor judgment, her four kids will grow up without a mother!!"

In Jesus' name, I pray for Jefferson's salvation. Amen.

"As for that sexist comments. Men make up 70% of driving deaths even though women are more likely to crash. Why? We crash in parking lots-- you crash at high speeds." This implies that on average, women are less skillful drivers than men, but they are smart enough not to exceed their capabilities. Men are more skillful, but they are far more likely to push past their capabilities, sober or drunk, and get themselves and others killed. So on average, men may be more skillful drivers, but women are better drivers. That said, my wife is a better driver than I am. On the other hand, my brother is a much more skillful driver than either of us, but he scares the spit out of me sometimes.

It was just very irresponsible driving at high speeds where you're not to, however it could happen anywhere and to the best of us.

Thank GOD the prospective buyer is alive. Feel sorry for that woman and kids. It's a sad reminder for everybody to be mindful of the speed limits all the time. They are there for a reason.

Does everybody making comments here really know why this car crashed? Even if speed played a factor, I think it is unwise to start getting into a discussion of blame until it is clear why she crashed. It could be that she was driving just fine but a tire blew out. Or perhaps she had an aneurism or someone or something ran into the road. Let's withhold judgment until we have all the facts. And I do agree that it was not cool for the original poster to insinuate that the driver's sex played a role.

This is obviously a sensitive issue with a dead woman and four children being left without a mother. However, let this be a lesson to all of us that life is precious and not to take it for granted!

First off, Amy knew what she was doing. She was a smart person who knew the risks of everyday life and what her job intailed. It's a sad accident and we will all love and miss her. Just take from this that even when we are professionals and even when we think nothing can ever happen...we can all loose our own control. Take care everyone.

NO ONE can handle a car under that environment. Bottom line, is she showed bad judgement. It appears she wasn't thinking about her 4 children at that point. It could be 4 lives were saved....God Bless her children and her family. And, the passenger in the car.

1 2 | »


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
Have a story tip for L.A. Now?
Please send to newstips@latimes.com
Can I call someone with news?
Yes. The city desk number is (213) 237-7847.


Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: