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Woman pedestrian in coma after being hit

Laguna Beach woman accused of DUI in Sunday evening incident near Laguna Playhouse.

October 19, 2011|By Cindy Frazier

A 65-year-old Lake Forest woman is still in a coma after being struck by a car in a crosswalk. She was thrown more than 40 feet during the impact at 8:16 p.m. Sunday near Laguna Playhouse, according to Laguna Beach police.

The car's driver, Sharon Ann Niggemann, 62, of Laguna Beach, was arrested on suspicion of felony DUI and held on $100,000 bail.

"She [the victim] was hit dead center and launched a good distance," said Cpl. D. McGill, a traffic investigator with the Laguna Beach Police Department.

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Investigators are trying to figure out who had the right of way at the time of the incident, McGill said.

Niggemann was coming into downtown Laguna Beach on Laguna Canyon Road when she allegedly plowed into the victim, who was crossing the road several feet behind her husband, McGill said. The victim's husband did not witness the collision, but his account of the direction he and his wife were walking contradicts that of the driver.

The victim's husband said the two were crossing from the public parking lot toward the Playhouse; the driver reported they were walking from the Playhouse to the parking lot.

"We are looking at the phasing of lights and will get the black box from the car" to help determine how the incident happened, McGill said.

McGill said that skid marks show that Niggemann tried to stop. The area was busy that night, with a wedding and "Lagunatics" both going on, but there were no other pedestrians present when the incident took place, he said.

Niggemann was transported to Orange County Jail, where she posted bail and was released, McGill said.

cindy.frazier@latimes.com

Twitter: @CindyFrazier1

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