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Driver gets four years in deadly Orange County freeway crash

January 7, 2011 | 12:46 pm

A Laguna Niguel man was sentenced Friday to four years in state prison for a 2007 collision that killed an elderly man, critically injured his wife and killed their friend as they sat inside a disabled vehicle on the freeway.

Trevor Mark Coffman, 38, pleaded guilty in October to two felony counts of vehicular manslaughter with a sentencing enhancement for causing great bodily injury to an elder, according to the Orange County district attorney’s office.

Sally Lee Howd, 76; her husband, Frank Howd, 82; and friend Catherine Malloy, 72, were driving southbound on the 5 Freeway on March 15, 2007 at 11 p.m. when the Volvo they were riding in crashed into a car with no emergency flashers that had come to a stop in the carpool lane south of El Toro Road, prosecutors said.

About 20 minutes after the initial crash, Coffman collided with the Volvo -– with the victims still inside waiting for a tow truck, said Susan Kang Schroeder, spokeswoman with the district attorney’s office.

Malloy died at the scene and Frank Howd died the following day, authorities said. Sally Howd sustained a skull fracture, broken ribs and cuts to the face but survived.

  Coffman had a blood-alcohol level of .10% and tested positive for marijuana, authorities said.

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-- Shan Li

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