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Laguna Beach


Police Files

Man hit by car on S Coast Hwy while allegedly intoxicated dies

William Edward Hemphill, 68, Laguna Beach, never recovered from his injuries after he fell onto S Coast Hwy while allegedly intoxicated and was hit by a car. Hemphill passed away on Friday, Jan 4 at Mission Hospital – Mission Viejo, according to LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota.

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.

Hemphill was unconscious upon arrival at the hospital and according to reports, never regained consciousness. 

In a previous interview, Sgt Cota said, “After speaking to witnesses and the driver involved in the collision, it was established the pedestrian, William Hemphill, was heavily intoxicated.” According to witness reports, “Hemphill staggered into the roadway and was struck by a vehicle.”

According to LBPD, the driver of the vehicle did not display any signs or symptoms of alcohol intoxication.

Animal Files

Trained falcon hired to deter seagulls at the Montage attacks hotel guest’s small dog in pool area

As reported in Stu News on Friday, Jan 4, on Sunday, Dec 30, at 2:45 p.m., at the 30800 block of S Coast Hwy, LBPD received a report of “a wild bird attacking people and dogs.” According to reports, the distressed reporting person “was yelling at security and stated she fell and scraped her knees and hands.” 

According to LBPD Civilian Services Administrator Jim Beres, “The incident occurred at the Montage in the outdoor pool area. The ‘wild bird’ was actually a falcon hired by the Montage to deter seagulls from hanging around the resort. The professional falconer hired by the Montage released his falcon, and rather than focusing on the seagulls as the falcon is trained to do, the falcon instead attacked a Montage guest’s small dog in the pool area. The dog’s owner interceded in an attempt to protect her dog from the falcon, and she tripped and fell while trying to protect her dog. The female hotel guest sustained some kind of injury due to falling down.” 

Because the incident happened on private property and no crime was committed, it was a private civil matter between the injured guest, the Montage, and the contract falconer.

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