Atascadero Man Dies in DUI Crash

Written by Estero Bay News

January 13, 2023

One Atascadero man died and another was arrested for suspicion of drunk driving and causing a fatal accident following a single car rollover crash on Hwy 41 east of Morro Bay.

According to Highway Patrol Public Information Ofc. Miguel Alvarez, at 11:55 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, a 2004 Suzuki Grand Vitara was traveling on a wet road in rainy weather, southbound on Hwy 41 just south of Bear Ridge Road. 

The driver told officers he was going approximately 55 mph into a right hand curve, part of the highway’s infamous “S” curves, when the Suzuki hydroplaned on the rain soaked roadway.

The car collided with the hillside, started to spin and then rolled. The driver of the car was identified as Orion Messina, 19 of Atascadero and there was an unidentified 18-year-old male passenger in the car as well.

Messina was wearing a seatbelt and was uninjured, however, the passenger was not belted in and was ejected from the vehicle coming to rest on the right shoulder of the road. 

The passenger, who was also from Atascadero, suffered major injuries and died there on the side of the road, according to the report.

Ofc. Alvarez said “alcohol was a factor in this collision,” and Messina was arrested, though the news release did not say what he was charged with. 

Ordinarily, when alcohol is involved in a car crash it is automatically a felony, and when there’s a fatality involved, it’s a very serious charge, and often times vehicular manslaughter. 

Estero Bay News attempted to discover what charge Messina faces but by Dec. 13, he had already been released from custody at the County Jail.

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