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Mother of 2 young children dies in Laguna Beach car crash

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LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. » A 31-year-old woman driving with her two children on Mother’s Day was killed after her car collided with another car in Laguna Beach.

The woman was driving with her 8-year-old and 5-year-old at 12:30 a.m. Sunday when a car traveling in the opposite direction sideswiped her, causing both cars to spin out of control, Capt. Jason Kravetz said.

The woman, identified by coroner’s officials as Sandra Maldonado of Mission Viejo, had to be cut out of the car. She was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Her children were treated at a hospital for minor injuries and released to family.

"For an unknown reason, one of the two veered out of its traffic lane," Kravetz said. "We don’t know which one it is."

The driver of the other car, an 86-year-old man from Laguna Woods, is in extremely critical condition. His car flipped over a couple times before landing on its wheels. His wife, who was also in the car, didn’t suffer serious injuries.

A 911 caller told dispatchers he had pulled the children from the car and put them in his vehicle until paramedics arrived.

"I found that very touching because they’re not having to sit there and see what’s going on with their mother, and he got them out of the area as quickly as possible," Kravetz said.

The area has double yellow lines and a single lane of traffic in either direction, Kravetz said. Alcohol and speed do not appear to be factors in the crash, he said.

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