Buddhist monk killed in Chino Hills auto accident

By Melissa Pinion-Whitt, Daily Bulletin, Oct 28, 2005

CHINO HILLS, Ontario (Canada) -- An 81-year-old Buddhist monk was killed in a two-car crash along Soquel Canyon Parkway on Wednesday evening.

Paramedics flew Sahat Nagasari of Chino Hills to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton where he died at 7:50 p.m., coroner's officials said.

San Bernardino County sheriff's traffic investigators are unsure who was at fault in the crash because both drivers claimed to have a green light, said sheriff's Deputy Scott Drury.

The other problem is that no independent witnesses to the crash remained at the scene when deputies arrived.

"It's kind of strange to think that at 6:45 in the evening there's not more than two cars at that intersection," Drury said.

The 1993 Toyota Camry that Nagasari was riding in was traveling east on Soquel Canyon Parkway and preparing to make a left turn onto Cypress Pointe Drive. Ganith Ohai, 41, of Moreno Valley, who was driving the Toyota, struck the Lexus of Asia Benton, 33, of Chino Hills, who was headed westbound on Soquel Canyon, Drury said.

"The (Toyota) made a left-hand turn in front of the Lexus, but we're still unable to determine who had the green light," Drury said.

Chino Valley firefighters came to the scene at 6:42 p.m. and flew Nagasari to the hospital. One of the drivers received facial scrapes from their airbags, but declined medical attention, said Ryan Dacko, spokesman for the Chino Valley Independent Fire District. The second driver also didn't require medical treatment, Dacko said.

Deputies closed Soquel Canyon between Slate and Pinehurst drives until about 3:30 a.m. Thursday so they could investigate the crash, Drury said.

Any witnesses to the crash are encouraged to call sheriff's deputies at (909) 364-2000.