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Girl Hit by SUV Is ID'd; Doctors Induce Coma

Senior Crystal Morales,17, suffered head trauma, internal bleeding and brain swelling. Driver is arrested on suspicion of DUI.

A 17-year-old student remained in critical condition Wednesday morning after she was struck Tuesday by a Chevy Tahoe in a crosswalk near Newport Harbor High School. The woman behind the wheel was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, police said.

Michael Vossen, principal of Newport Harbor High School, said Crystal Morales was crossing Irvine Avenue at Margaret Drive about 2:50 p.m. when she was struck by an SUV traveling in the No. 1 lane, closest to the center divider.

The teen was taken to Western Medical Center and is in the Critical Care Unit. She suffered head trauma, internal bleeding, brain swelling and other internal injuries.

"The latest update that we have is that doctors are working on controlling the bleeding by inducing a coma with assistive breathing for the next two weeks so she can be in the best possible recovery setting," Vossen said in an email to Newport Beach Patch.

Vossen said crisis counseling would be available Wednesday to any student affected by this incident and the school would work on improving crosswalk safety.

"We will continue to work with the NBPD and the city of Newport Beach to ensure as much is being done as possible to ensure the safety of our students," he said.

The driver of the Chevy, Marnie J. Lippincott, 38, of Costa Mesa, stopped at the scene. She was later arrested, although it was unclear if her alleged intoxication was from narcotics or alcohol, said Newport Beach police spokeswoman Kathy Lowe.

She was being held on $100,000 bail, according to arrest records. Her first court appearance is scheduled for Thursday.

Court records show Marnie Jo Lippincott has a string of convictions, including for grand theft, burglary and obtaining prescriptions by fraud and forgery.


Denise December 07, 2011 at 09:57 AM
I went to school with Marnie from kindergarten (at Calvary Chapel) through high school. I then worked with her for a couple years and she was trouble then. I feel sorry for her kids. I pray this poor girl survives through this tragic accident Marnie had caused. I will keep her in my prayers.
Amused December 07, 2011 at 04:43 PM
And again, someone drives while impaired - this time the person has multiple episodes - critically injures someone and is still allowed to drive. Can somebody explain this to me?
maria December 07, 2011 at 04:51 PM
We will find strength in the Lord, and she will make it through all of this. Are hearts go out to her and her family.
Mary Longpre December 07, 2011 at 05:53 PM
I am so sorry for Crystal M. praying for her full recovery. CROSSWALK there is always dangerous, the students just seem to 'pop' out into street and rarely look for on coming traffic. Hope there can be more patrols and/or crossing guards there.
Elizabeth Sphere December 07, 2011 at 07:28 PM
Marnie is not a close friend of mine, but we do have a mutual friend. She has shown the utmost responsibility every time we have been out together. Each time she was driving she did not have even a sip of alcohol. What happened yesterday is a tragedy and my heart goes out to Crystal and her family as well, but let's not be so quick to play judge and jury. It is very easy to judge someone on their past and assume the worst. It is not as easy to give them the benefit of the doubt. But yes, if she was under the influence of any substance, I hope she will make the decisions needed to move past that.
Christina December 07, 2011 at 07:37 PM
If the driver was under the influence, shame on her! Crystal did not deserve this. No one deserves this. That lady had no right being around a school let alone In her car if she was impaired! She better hope Crytal recovers. We are all rooting for you Crystal. We need you Crystal.
Veronica December 07, 2011 at 09:58 PM
Crystal did not deserve to go throw this we Love you Crystal were with you .Just because someone decided to drink and drive. Elizabeth no one is judging or playing judge here but she is an adult that has a history already she should've learned the first time she reminds me of the guy that killed the Angel Baseball Player you don't learn till a tragedy happens right and now she wants help a little too late. It all catches up you some day
Ted Bell December 08, 2011 at 03:46 AM
I dont see how "working with the police" will help stupid people make better choices (not drinking and driving). As for the person that says "dont be so quick to judge" she lost that on her second offense...btw I used to know Marnie.....sad.
Monique December 08, 2011 at 04:31 PM
There are 2 seperate issues here...Driving while intoxicated, by drinking or drugs. We should all know this is wrong and can be tragic. Secondly, if anyone has driven in front of NHHS on a school morning or after school then you know how scary it is. My son goes to Ensign and I drive around to Cliff just to avoid that area everyday. It is awful... Kids are everywhere and the drivers are so confused about when to go and not hit a child it is crazy! I have seen countless accidents and bicycles down. I'd like to see crossing guards... Could we have volunteers... Seriously I'm sure a parent a day would step up. This is not the first accident there... How many have there been this school year? I pray for Crystal and her family too!
Ted Bell December 09, 2011 at 03:19 AM
Drivers get even more confused while under the influence, stop making excuses for bad behaviour. Have you gone to the county court web site and pulled her name? She is a menace to society.
Kimberly Souza February 09, 2012 at 07:25 PM
I pray that this lady who acted so selfishly and irresponsibly gets the punishment/consequences that she deserves. I feel sorry for her children that their mother is obviously not getting the help that she is so in need of. She needs to break the cycle of her addictions and her past choices/behaviors and get help... The state of California is partly to blame for this type of neglectful behavior on this lady's part. There needs to be mandated jail/prison sentencing to those who are foolish enough to get a DUI/DWI after the first time. California needs to stop giving chance after chance to monsters who choose to risk the lives of innocent children. If this lady does not get convicted and forced into treatment, then there needs to be serious repercussions that the city/county faces.... I would go as far as to contacting the governor/mayor!!!
Chelsey Peterson January 06, 2013 at 12:13 AM
Actually, Crystal's mother Gloria Morales has her own history of DUI, she just got lucky and did not hit anyone. She just got off probation a little over a year ago! Shame on Gloria for acting so Innocent, and saying she has NO remorse or forgiveness for Marnie.

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