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Coble News Diary
by Jim Schmitt, Editor and Publisher

Since the stragic accident that took the lives of Kyle, Emma, and Katie Coble May 4, 2007, it not only changed the lives of their parents, Chris and Lori Coble, and their families and friends, but it changed the lives of our entire community of Ladera Ranch.

In an editorial I ran in the June 2007 issue of the Ladera Times, I said that, by pulling together as a community as we did in showing our support and love for the Coble family in this most trying of times in their lives we all have, in effect, become members of the Coble family . . . now and forever.

As the story unfolds with each passing month, most recently with the birth of triplets -- a boy and two girls -- almost one year to the date of the deaths of their siblings, it has become apparent this story is going to be with a for a long time.

The truth is, while we have all become members of the Coble family, the Coble have become the face of Ladera Ranch. As a result, we have created this diary to keep us all, members of the extended Coble family, abreast of developments in this ongoing story. Check out the stories below.

Cobles, Ordered to Pay $292K in Caltrans Suit,
Are Launching Letter Campaign to Fight Back

        September 29, 2010 -- Lori and Chris Coble, of Ladera Ranch, whose three young children were killed in a horrific crash on the I-5 three years ago, have been ordered to pay Caltrans $291,534.04 in fees and costs after losing a wrongful death lawsuit in July against the state highway department. 
        Lori Coble and her mother, Cynthia Maestri, were stuck in traffic while heading south on the I-5 just before the Oso Exit when they were rammed in the rear by a semi-tractor rig driven about 55-mph by Jorge Miguel Romero, 38, Apple Valley. 
        Both Lori, who was driving, and her mother, who was beside her in the front seat of the family's mini-van, were injured, but the three children, Kyle, 5, Emma, 4, and Katie, 2, all strapped in their safety seats, were crushed. 
        The Cobles had sued Catrans because, they argued, the agency knew the approach to the one-lane Oso Exit was dangerous and needed an extra exit lane but did nothing about it. 
        Expansion of the Southbound OSO Exit was on the drawing board years from now but was accelerated by Orange County Fifth District Pat Bates and has since been completed. 
        The Cobles are appealing the charges and are asking their friends and supporters to help them with a writing campaign. 
        "Some of you know Lori and I have recently been ordered by Judge Nancy Weiben Stock to pay Caltrans $291,534 for their legal fees for the trial we lost a few months ago," said Chris Coble in a letter. 
        "Many people I’ve spoken to understand the danger which was the Oso exit and how nothing was done even though Caltrans identified the problems 10 years prior. To defend the lawsuit in Court, Caltrans employees lied, their experts lied, pretty much everyone lied . . . Now they are coming after us for their fees" Chris went on. 
        "If you think this situation is as wrong as I do, please take a few moments and express your feeling in an email and send it to the following locations (click on blue highlighted names for direct link): 
        -- CA Attorney General & Candidate for Governor Jerry Brown
        -- Candidate for CA Govenor Meg Whitman
        -- Orange County Fifth District Supervisor Bate Bates
        -- Pat Bates' Communitiy Affairs Director Sergio Prince  
        -- Orange County Transit Authority OCTA 
        "Also please take the text from the email and send it to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. To do that you need to click on Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and select "Caltrans" in the subject drop-down box and press the "Submit" button. After that copy in the text."
        The photo above, right, shows Lori Coble discussing the case on the Ladera Times "Open Mic" radio show hosted by Jim Schmitt, Editor and Publisher, every Wednesday from 2:00 to 3:00 pm at OC Talk Radio.

Caltrans Found Not Guilty in Tragic Coble Accident
        July 14, 2010 -- A jury has determined that Caltrans was not at fault in the accident on I-5 South approaching the OSO Parkway Exit that resulted in the deaths on May 4, 2007, of the three children of Chris and Lori Coble – Kyle, 5, Emma, 4, and Katie, 2. The Coble family mini-van, driven by Lori, was struck in the rear by a tractor trailer. Also n the front was Lori's mother, Cynthia Maestri. Both were injured. The attorney for the Cobles, Jeoffrey Robinson, argued that daily backups at that section of I-5 was the result of faulty Caltrans design. Expansion of the Southbound OSO Exit was on the drawing board but was accelerated by Orange County Fifth District Pat Bates and has since been completed. Caltrans Attorney Karen Bilotti blamed the accident on the truck driver.

Trucker Responsible for the Death of Ladera’s Three Coble Children
Gets 364-Day Sentence Plus Probation
        January 23, 2009 -- The driver of a truck that struck and killed the three Coble babies almost two years ago was sentenced today for his negligent driving behavior that led to the deaths. Jorge Miguel Romero, 38, Apple Valley, pleaded no contest on August 22, 2008, to three misdemeanor counts of vehicular manslaughter involving criminal negligence. Romero was sentenced to 364 days in jail and five years of probation.

Chris and Lori Coble Introduce
Their Three Angels on Earth
        Here they are! The Coble triplets, shown above in the loving arms of their parents Chris and Lori Coble. They are, from left: Ashley Lynn, Ellie Gene, and Jake Christopher. After many anxious months and a near-tragic setback, Chris and Lori finally feel comfortable introducing their babies to Ladera Ranch, and the rest of the world for that matter. more . . . >
Meet the Cobles
Chris and Lori Coble get up close and personal in an in depth interview with the Ladera Times. more . . .>

Pink & Blue Ribbons
Lori Coble’s mother, Cynthia Maestri, who was injured along with Lori in the horrific car accident that fateful May 4, has submitted a touching first-person account entitled "Pink and Blue Ribbons." It begins, "It was May 4, a Friday morning much like any other day except that this would be the day that would devastate our lives, destroy our hopes and dreams for the future and cast us into despair." More . . .>

Today Show Interview
      Following word of the triplets, first reported on, Chris and Lori Coble were interviewed onthe Today Show
via live satellite feed from their home here in Ladera Ranch. To see the interview in its entirety, click on "Coble Interview."

Ladera Mourns
      The story began to unfold when a tractor-trailer rig plowed into the rear of the Coble’s Chrysler Town & Country minivan. The rig was traveling 55-60 mph and the driver, Jorge Miguel Romero, 37, of Apple Valley, said he couldn’t stop in time. Efforts to save the children, all of whom had been strapped in their child car seats at the time of the accident, failed. More . . .>
Chris & Lori Lobby
for Truck Safety on American Highways. more . . .>

Homily for Angels
Chris Coble’s father, The Rev. Robert H. Coble, Rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in Norristown, PA, has provided a copy of the loving homily that he gave at the children’s funeral. The homily began with, "Over the last thirty-six years, I have spoken at many funerals, but this is by far the most difficult situation I have ever faced as a parent, grandparent or as a clergy person." More . . .>

Bikers Ride for Coble Family
    You gotta hand it to the bikers, they never pass up an opportunity to go on a bike ride . . . and they never turn down a chance to raise money for a good cause. Saturday, June 9, was no exception as hundreds of bikers, a few cars and, believe it or not, even an antique fire truck, assembled at Huntington Beach Honda
for a ride to the Beachfire Grill in Ladera Ranch to raise money for the Coble Family Memorial Fund. More . . .>

Jorge Miguel Romero
On Auygust 22, 2008, Jorge Miguel Romero, the operator who wrecklessly plowed his semi-tractor-trailor rig into the back of the Coble's minivan killing Kyle, Emma, and Katie Coble, and injuring their mother, Lori Coble, and her mother, Cynthia Maestri. pled "no contest" to and was found guilty of three counts of vehicular homicide, each of which carries a one-year sentence. More . . .>