Woman fatally struck by vehicle after getting out of car on 405 Freeway following minor crash

A woman involved in a minor crash early Wednesday on the northbound 405 Freeway in Costa Mesa was killed when she was struck by a vehicle after she got out of her car, the California Highway Patrol said.

Aldagracia Cruz-Penaloza, 42, stopped in the fast lane about 4:45 a.m. after getting into a collision with her 2017 Toyota Corolla near Harbor Boulevard, CHP said.

The other driver, meanwhile, pulled over to the right shoulder.

Cruz-Penaloza and her daughter, 18-year-old Flor Solano, got out of the Toyota after the airbags deployed. They were standing to the rear of the car in the number two lane when a 2015 Audi plowed into the victim and her car just before 5 a.m., the CHP said.

The crash sent the Toyota into the number three lane, where it was struck by a 2000 Chevrolet Malibu driven by Sherrele McCollom, 33, of San Juan Capistrano, according to the CHP.

The force of the impact propelled the Malibu onto an off-ramp, where it was hit by an oncoming Prius.

McCollom and Solano were taken to an area hospital for treatment of what were described as minor injuries.

David Akira Tam Jr., 43, of Carlsbad, who was behind the wheel of the Audi, was unhurt, according to the CHP.

CHP officer Paul Fox said it is safer to stay inside the vehicle than outside if your car is stalled on the freeway.

"In an instance like this, again, we recommend completely off the freeway is the safest. But stay in your car, if you're unable to move your vehicle, at least stay inside. It will be safer than standing outside."

Four northbound lanes of the freeway were closed until about 9:45 a.m. for the crash investigation and clean-up.

Anyone who has any information about the collisions was asked to call CHP investigators at 714-567-6000.

City News Service contributed to this report.