A Watsonville man died late Thursday after the car he was riding in plunged off a cliff at Pescadero State Beach. The driver of the car was arrested shortly after the crash on suspicion of DUI, California Highway Patrol Public Information Officer Sophie Lu said.

The County of San Mateo Coroner’s Office identified the man as Nicolas Laron Vargas, 29.

Around 10pm, Madeline St. Pierre, 22, of Arcata, was driving westbound on Pescadero Creek Road at an unknown speed, east of Highway 1 in a 2021 Kia Forte with two passengers.  For unknown reasons, St. Pierre failed to stop at the intersection of Pescadero Creek Road and Highway 1 and continued westbound through the intersection toward the ocean.  

The Kia drove off the cliff, a drop of approximately 100 feet, where it landed on the beach on its wheels, Lu said.  

Due to high tide, the vehicle was partially in the water. Vargas, the right rear passenger, was pronounced dead by San Mateo County Fire Paramedics at 10:20pm.  

St. Pierre suffered major injuries and was taken to Stanford Medical Center. The second passenger, a 22-year-old woman of Arcata, was also taken to Stanford Medical Center as a precaution.  

St. Pierre has been charged with one count of vehicular manslaughter and one count of driving under influence of alcohol and/or drugs, causing injuries to a person. 

Witnesses are asked to call Officer A. Lopez at 650.779.2700.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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