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Mom cited in alleged DUI crash that injured son’s classmate

A Newport Harbor High School student is in critical condition after she was hit by a classmate's mother suspected of driving under the influence.

Crystal Morales, a 17-year-old senior, was in a crosswalk at Margaret Drive shortly before school let out at 2:45 p.m. Tuesday when she was struck by Marie J. Lippincott, 38, of Costa Mesa, police said.

Lippincott was driving a Chevy Tahoe northbound on Irvine Avenue. She was charged with driving under the influence and causing injury, according to Newport Beach Police Department spokeswoman Kathy Lowe.

Lippincott is being held Wednesday at Orange County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bail, and is expected to appear in court Friday, the Daily Pilot reported.

Police were investigating whether she was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the crash outside of Harbor High. Court records show that in 2005 Lippincott pleaded guilty to theft, burglary and obtaining prescription drugs by fraud.

School district spokeswoman Laura Boss said she is the mother of a boy at Newport Harbor.

"He's really not the subject. It's unfortunate his mother was involved in the accident, but we're not focusing on that right now," Boss said. "Our main concern right now is the safety of [Crystal]."

Doctors induced a coma Wednesday morning so the girl could recover from head trauma, internal bleeding, brain swelling and other internal injuries, according an email from Newport Harbor Principal Michael Vossen, who wrote to students and parents.

She would be on assisted "breathing for the next two weeks so she can be in the best possible recovery setting," he wrote.

On campus Wednesday Boss said the mood was "solemn. People are in shock."

"It's definitely a time that pulls the campus together when something like this happens," she added.

That section of Irvine Avenue has been a safety concern for school officials, Boss said, and the district has been working with Newport Beach city officials to improve crosswalk safety.

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-- Mike Reicher, Times Community News

 
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