Orange County Register editor killed in Santa Ana crash

 In blog, Crime News: Los Angeles Daily News

Orange County Register editor killed in Santa Ana crash

by Alma Fausto

A longtime Orange County Register editor died Thursday after his truck was hit by a BMW involved in a street race with another car, authorities said.

Eugene Harbrecht, a Santa Ana resident, was 67 years old. He worked for the Register since March 1984, most recently as the national and international news editor for the greater Southern California News Group.

Gene Harbrecht

The crash that resulted in his death happened at about 11:45 a.m. on Bristol Street and Santa Clara Avenue, said Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna.

Before the crash, witnesses reported that a silver BMW sedan and a dark sedan were racing at high speeds northbound on Bristol Street. The BMW slammed into a Ford Ranger that was traveling southbound on Bristol and turning left on Santa Clara, Bertagna said.

The impact pushed the truck about 60 feet into a fence where it started to catch fire.

“There were two guys who live in the area that went and broke the window and pulled the victim out (of the truck),” Bertagna said. Officers arrived soon after and put out the fire with a fire extinguisher.

The driver of the truck was taken to UC Irvine Medical Center hospital, where he died. The driver of the racing BMW also was hospitalized in unknown condition.

Orange County Register editor Eugene Harbrecht. (Photo by Nick Koon, Orange County Register/SCNG)

The dark sedan involved in the race fled the scene, Bertagna said. Officers found the car a few hours later and stopped it at a post office off First Street near Pacific Avenue. They took the driver, described only as a man, into custody.

Police did not immediately provide details as to how they identified the second car, saying only they received a lead that directed them to it.

The crash knocked down wires and Bristol was closed from 17th Street to Memory Lane.

Bertagna said police are seeing an uptick in street racing in recent months. This is the second fatality related to racing in the city this year.

“We’ve always had street racing,” he said. “We’re seeing it more. People aren’t working, they’re at home, less cars on the road and I guess they decide to street race. But people lose their lives.”

All credit goes to Alma Fausto
Originally published on

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