Costa Mesa Police report that on July 7, 2015 at 1:35 a.m., Costa Mesa Police and Fire personnel responded to the 700 block of Baker Street regarding a collision involving two vehicles. A Ford Escape, carrying two rear-seated passengers, had just exited the parking lot near The Huddle bar, at 741 Baker Street, and began crossing Baker Street when it was struck by a BMW 540i traveling in the eastbound number one lane of Baker Street.
The BMW, driven by 19-year old Costa Mesa resident Porfirio Sandoval, struck the driver side of the Escape, injuring both rear passengers and the Escape’s driver, 43-year old Irvine resident Frank Rugnetta. Rugnetta was transported to UCI Medical Center in Orange for chest pain.
Rugnetta’s rear male passenger, a 29-year old Huntington Beach resident was transported to Western Medical Center in Santa Ana for chest pain. The other rear passenger, a 29-year old female Irvine resident, Julia Gardner was also transported to Western Medical Center in Santa Ana. The female later expired at the hospital from complications related to chest trauma resulting from the collision. The female had been seated directly behind the driver of the Escape.
Sandoval, the driver of the BMW, was treated at Hoag Hospital for chest pain. He was arrested for felony DUI and booked at the Costa Mesa Police Department Jail, where his bail amount is $100,000. Sandoval will be later transported to Orange County Jail in Santa Ana.
Rugnetta, who drove the Escape, was an Uber driver who had arrived at the location to pick up the female (decedent) and male passenger immediately preceding the collision. Rugnetta was examined by officers at the scene and did not display signs of intoxication. He was later released from the scene.
Any witnesses to the collision should contact Officer Crystal Cordero at 714-754-5264.