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Orange County, California — April 24, 2012

Police say a passenger died and two other people were hurt Tuesday during a crash in the Orange area.

According to officers with the Orange Police Department, an unidentified man was behind the wheel of a Toyota Highlander sport-utility vehicle as it traveled east along Lincoln Avenue. As the SUV approached Tustin Street, around 9:55 p.m., the driver apparently crossed into oncoming traffic.

The Highlander made head-to-head contact with a Hona Civic, operated by an unidentified female. The driver of the SUV suffered minor injuries and was hospitalized.

Paramedics transported the Civic’s driver to a nearby hospital for treatment. A passenger in the Civic, Charles Bayes, 49, suffered fatal injuries and died on scene.

The incident remains under investigation. Witnesses have been asked to call (714) 744-7460 with any additional information.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that the number of fatalities along America’s roadways declined in 2010 for the fifth-straight year. The total number of highway deaths last year was 32,788, down 3 percent over 2009.

UPDATE: The driver of the Highland has been identified as 27-year-old Anaheim resident Lloyd Mardel Cotton Jr. He suffered minor injuries and is under suspicion of driving under the influence and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.

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