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Marina principals injured in alleged hit-and-run crash

June 03, 2010

A Canyon Lake man pleaded not guilty Friday to injuring two Marina High School principals in an alleged drunken car crash.

Thomas Lance Reed, 23, faces charges of felony driving under the influence causing bodily injury, driving with a blood-alcohol level of more than .08, and hit-and-run with injury, according to the Orange County district attorney's office.

He faces a maximum sentence of almost 10 years in state prison.

Marina Principal Paul Morrow and his passenger, Assistant Principal of Curriculum Jeanne Ellis, were injured in a car accident about 11 p.m. Feb. 18 after Reed hit another car on the 91 Freeway near Imperial Highway.

The educators' car hit metal debris from the first crash and flipped over. Ellis fractured her sternum, ankle and vertebrae. She hasn't been able to return to work.

Morrow suffered a knee injury. An inductee into the International Surfing Hall of Fame's Honor Roll in 2005, he has been unable to surf.

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Reed allegedly rear-ended an off-duty Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy and his pregnant wife while driving faster than 100 mph on the 91 Freeway. Reed is accused of driving drunk with a blood-alcohol level of .19.

The deputy's car spun out into a chain-link fence on the shoulder.

Reed's car crashed into the center divider, where he allegedly got out to run away. He returned when the deputy began to chase him.

Reed is out on $50,000 bail and is expected to be back in court at 8:30 a.m. June 21 in Courtroom N-3 at the North Justice Center in Fullerton.

— Britney Barnes

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