City sees calm roads, busy beaches during holiday weekend


Traffic accidents were few within city limits during the Thanksgiving weekend, while local beaches saw some activity.

By Olivia Damavandi / Assistant Editor

Despite notoriety as one of the busiest travel times of the year, Malibu roadways remained relatively calm during the four-day Thanksgiving weekend. Malibu beaches, however, did not.

Summer-like weather and high surf activity brought 80,000 people to city beaches during the holiday weekend, four of whom were transported by ambulance to local area hospitals, Los Angeles County Lifeguard Captain Remy Smith said Monday in a telephone interview. Of those four people, three sustained serious lacerations from surfing accidents and one visitor from San Clemente incurred a severe burn on her hand after “sticking it into an illegal barbecue at Zuma Beach,” Smith said.

Though no drowning rescues were documented, lifeguards at Escondido Beach rescued a family stranded onboard a boat whose engine had failed. Lifeguards also rescued four birds with broken wings and removed three homeless people who had been illegally camping at Zuma Beach, Smith said.

Back on the road, only four car accidents occurred within the City of Malibu during the Thanksgiving weekend-all of which were minor with no serious injuries-and no DUI arrests were made, Sgt. Phil Brooks of the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station said Monday in a telephone interview. Last year’s Thanksgiving weekend resulted in two major accidents and two DUI arrests in the city.

The California Highway Patrol this Thanksgiving arrested approximately 1,300 drivers on state freeways for DUIs-about the same number compared with Thanksgiving 2008. Of this year’s DUI arrests, 291 occurred in Los Angeles County, Leland Tang, CHP public information officer, said Monday in a telephone interview.

Though Malibu traffic remained tranquil during the holiday weekend, California’s highways saw an increase in fatal accidents, which totaled 18, killing 25 people. Three of those accidents and three of those fatalities occurred within Los Angeles County, Tang said. An additional nine people were killed in car accidents that occurred in cities not patrolled by the CHP, raising the statewide death toll to 34, Tang said. Last year during the same period, 24 people died in crashes across California, according to CHP statistics compiled by the City News Service.

Tang attributed the rise in fatal crashes during this holiday weekend to an improved economy and an increase in the amount of cars on the roads.

“More people were taking to the highways as compared to last year,” Tang said. “Also, less people were flying this year. Last year, our economic situation was a lot worse than it is now and gas prices were higher than they are now.”