Update: The Monterey County Coroner's Office has identified the victims as driver Maria Vanessa Carrango, 35, from Salinas and passenger Esther Monique Espinoza, 28, from Marina.
Two women were killed when their car drove through a gate and fence on Highway 1, plunged into Moss Landing Harbor and landed upside down in the water, and investigators are trying to determine not only why the accident happened, but when.
The Acura was discovered in the harbor about 2:40pm on April 10, but the accident may have occurred the previous day, according to a press release from the California Highway Patrol. As the tide began to go out, the edge of the rear tire was seen just above the waterline—a dive team from State Parks was called out and found the bodies of the driver and a passenger in the car.
Per the press release, the driver was headed westbound on Dolan Road and appears to have failed to stop for the stop sign at the intersection of Dolan and Highway 1 and drove through the fence west of Highway 1 leading into the harbor. It is unclear if drugs or alcohol were a factor in the collision, the CHP release stated.
The Monterey County Coroner’s Office identified the victims as 35-year-old driver Maria Vanessa Carrango of Salinas and her 28-year-old passenger, Esther Monique Espinoza of Marina.
Both were mothers of young children.