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Laguna Beach


Police Files

Man in critical condition after staggering into traffic and being struck by vehicle

On Wednesday, Dec 26, at 7:21 p.m., LBPD and LBFD responded to an injury traffic collision involving a vehicle versus a pedestrian on S Coast Hwy between Laguna Avenue and Legion Street, in the southbound lanes. 

“After speaking to witnesses and the driver involved in the collision, it was established the pedestrian, William Hemphill, was heavily intoxicated,” said LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota. According to witness reports, “Hemphill staggered into the roadway and was struck by a vehicle. Hemphill was not responsive at the scene and was transported to Mission Hospital, Mission Viejo.”

Hemphill’s injuries were critical, including a laceration to his spleen and fractures to his face, spine, pelvis, hip, and ribs. 

“Hemphill was unconscious upon arrival at the hospital and was kept sedated,” Sgt Cota said. “The driver of the vehicle did not display any signs or symptoms of alcohol intoxication.”

The traffic collision investigation is still ongoing.

Three days prior, on Monday, Dec 23 at 6:46 p.m., at the 500 block of S Coast Hwy, William Hemphill, 68, was arrested for disorderly conducted related to alcohol. 

According to Sgt Cota, he was released once he was deemed sober.

“When someone is arrested for public intoxication, they remain in our detoxification cell until they are sober,” Sgt Cota said.

Parking Services Officer threatened in alleged robbery

Police Files DiotteOn Sunday, Dec 23 at 4:11 p.m., at the 200 block of Broadway Street, a Laguna Beach Parking Services Officer (PSO) broadcasted that “an aggressive male homeless subject approached her, demanded money, then verbally abused and intimated her when she refused to comply,” Sgt Cota said.

The PSO provided the male’s description and he was located in the parking lot of Broadway Liquor. 

“The male was identified as Matthew Diotte. After further interview of the PSO, it was determined the elements of attempted robbery were met,” Sgt Cota said.

Mathew David Diotte, 38, was subsequently arrested for attempted robbery and an outstanding warrant.

Bail was set at $110,000.

Grinch steals Christmas presents from car

On Sunday, Dec 23, at 12:27 p.m., an LBPD officer was dispatched to a residence in the 100 block of St Ann’s Drive in reference to a theft from vehicle report. “Christmas presents that were left in the car are all gone,” reads the report.

According to Sgt Cota, several items were stolen from an unlocked vehicle. The loss totaled approximately $900. 

“A hat possibly belonging to the suspect was located inside the vehicle. It was collected and booked into evidence,” Sgt Cota said. “The suspect may have been recorded on video. This case will be submitted to the Investigations Division.

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