Wed. May 22nd, 2024

Matthew George Tapia

 Photo Credit: Facebook, used with permission granted by the Tapia family

Two motorists, identified as Matthew George Tapia, 24, of Santa Ana, and Corina Villareal, 54, of Azusa, were killed Thursday at about 1:30 a.m.  in a head-on crash near Whittier at First Avenue, near Candlelight Drive, in the unincorporated county area, California Highway Patrol officials said in a written statement, according to the Whittier Daily News.

Tapia was the son of George and Anita Tapia, who are members of the Tustin Calvary Chapel Church.  He was home on leave from the U.S. Marines when the accident occurred.

The O.C. Register reported that Tapia was driving a red 1999 Isuzu Trooper south on First Avenue, approaching Candlelight Drive at an unknown speed when he apparently allowed the vehicle to drift to his left, across the double yellow lines and the crash occurred. Villareal was driving a Lexus IS 250 northbound on First Avenue when Tapia’s vehicle crashed into hers.  She was borrowing her friend’s car when the crash occurred, according to the Inside So Cal Blog.

Corina Villarreal

 Photo Credit: Inside So Cal Blog

Corina Villarreal grew in Azusa, where she spend most of her life, and attended Azusa High School, family members said. She also lived in La Mirada for a period during a former marriage, according to the Inside So Cal Blog.

The CHP is investigating whether or not alcohol or drugs were involved.  Given the time of the crash it may well be that drowsy driving was a factor.

Funeral plans have not yet been announced.



By Editor

The New Santa Ana blog has been covering news, events and politics in Santa Ana since 2009.

63 thoughts on “Santa Ana resident on leave from the Marines killed in head on crash in Whittier”
  1. This 24 year old matthew killed my best friend. There were three witnesses that state he almost hit them then went back across the yellow lines to hit her…. we are heart broken from what this kid has done

      1. First of all my prayers to both families. Second of all where you there? Did you see it happen? Stop blaming people instead Pray for the loved ones left behind..

        1. Really did you lose someone you love from the actions of someone else. I was there at the scene and you don’t have to be a genius or wait for reports to see he was on the wrong side of the road

  2. What a damn shame. This is why you don’t drink and drive. Condolences to the Villareal family. That Marine’s family should be ashamed at the behavior of their son.

    1. We don’t yet know the cause of the accident. The coroner will check to see if alcohol or drugs were involved. That info won’t be available for a while.

    2. I don’t think anyone has the right to judge if he was drinking not yet let the corner do the job first ..two lives were taken too..he has parents who had loss..i feel for both

      1. She was a great person. He took her life what’s good about that. Drinking or not he crossed the line twice. Does that sound like being tired or falling asleep at the wheel. Im tired if hearing excuses. .

    3. You sir, are a dick

      “The CHP is investigating whether or not alcohol or drugs were involved. Given the time of the crash it may well be that drowsy driving was a factor.”

      Even if he was drinking, you don’t know that. So until the coroner is finished, keep your comments to yourself

      I knew Matthew. He was a good man. Eagle Scout. U.S. Marine. Rest in Peace

      1. You can add killer to your list …. tired of excuses. He did cross the lines twice almost took out a car with three people before hitting CORINA and I talked to the witnesses myself. I don’t need to wait to see if he’s drunk or tired either way he’s responsible ..MAN UP and take responsibility. …

        1. He can’t take responsibility. He’s dead. We don’t even have facts sufficient to determine if there was any negligence, let alone drunk driving.

          No one’s making excuses, but telling the parents they should be ashamed isn’t going to bring anyone back. All it does is show a complete lack of empathy and compassion that are supposed to be trademarks of our species. It’s situations like this that reveal our true spirit, and what I’m seeing on here is a perfect example of man’s inhumanity to man and a self centered attitude that seeks to punish not only the person who already paid a price, but his family as well. A innocent family that had as much to do with Corrina’s death as any of you.

    4. First of all my prayers to both of the families…second stop accusing of this unfortunate accident instead “pray” for the both drivers and their loved ones left behind…

    5. Wait a minute! you have no idea if alcohol was involved! The problem with society today is they take sides blame others, when they don’t know the facts nor the whole story! I suggest you take a breather and learn all the facts before you make these comments!!!!!!!!!

      1. Love him all you want, for one family, Matt will be forever remembered as a murderer. As a “Marine”, you’d think he’d have enough common sense to not drive drunk *OR* not drive when he was so tired he was “falling asleep”. Either way, his incredible lack of judgment cost him his life and took the life of another INNOCENT victim. An ounce of common sense could have saved two lives. Too bad Matt didn’t have any. I can’t wait for the toxicology report.

        1. I hope you find peace with your thoughts and I am sorry for your loss as well! Whether it was drunk driving or falling asleep at the wheel it is unfortunate to lose both lives! Only time and the toxicology tests will tell the truth but until then I hope you find peace. Matt was a good man whether you want to believe it or not.

        2. Well said joe Friday …….. R.I.P Corina you were robbed of your wonderful life and the smiles and laughs and love you shared to many lives You will be missed and remembered for the good you have on this earth

        3. You too really yes it is sad but 2 yes 2 people died and it was an accedent !!! And your words are hurtful to his family how would you and your family feel if it was the other way around . Would you say us she was an idiot for what she did no u would be hurt .

          1. And if it was turned around would all his family feel the same as her family and friends …..im sure some where in the bunch someone would…..untill your on the other side of the fence you can not say how you would feel. Sure enough it is all sad…i said the fact remains he drove out of the lane and went into her lane would that not happen it would have not cost any lives…..

        4. You are pretty horrible to be labeling him a murderer after he has passed away. Have you made a mistake? Yes, it was a horrific one but he did not intend to hurt anyone! I can assure you that. Let the hate in your heart go and grieve your friend. Don’t stoop down to a level of hatred. You’re only hurting yourself as well as his loved ones. He was a person too and had loved ones.

    6. How dare you. You have no respect for the man who was serving are country and you do not know that he or she had been drinking .

  3. So lets say he dont drink…..well if he was that level headed of a person he should have pulled over if he knew he was that tired and not put other people in danger……fact remains he took Corina s life. His as well ….she is a innocent victim and it is a whole community that mourns her as well as her family.

    1. Like everybody is blaming this kid for driving drunk , nobody really knows what was going on in his life , it could have been a million different reasons for this accident . Let the investor’s do there job , it’s his fault for crossing the line, but don’t say what u guys think he has a family too.l knew her and it’s very sad for both families. God knows what really happen

  4. Guys, what we are failing to realize is that 2 people are dead! Regardless who was at fault, let the families grieve for there loved ones and stop pointing fingers, let the investigators do there jobs. May they both Rest in Peace. It was there time, all things happen according to the man upstairs!

    1. I can’t help thinking though that all of us at one time or another have driven while drowsy. Over time we learn how to manage this better but this young man was probably used to a military schedule – early to bed and early to rise. Being up at 1:30 am was probably pushing it but hindsight is 20/20. There is a sad lesson here for all of us.

      1. Here is a FACT he went into her lane drinking or not and hit her and she is gone…..I would say that is a fact.

  5. Quit assuming. The investigation is still on going. How about we start assuming the other driver was drunk and speeding. She was out at 130 just like everyone else who is assumed to be drunk. Lets say she was tired and speeding. She could be at fault as well. Yeah she didn’t cross the line but who knows she could have been driving so fast that when they impacted that’s the reason they died. Show some god damn respect. Know matter what he did he was still a marine. Willing to fight and die for your freedom so you can run your mouth off like an idiot over the internet. All i’ve seen of the other drivers pictures is a drunk. Maybe you should see how she is portrayed of the world before you go pointing fingers. You weren’t in the car with either of them so shut your mouth. It’s all assumptions right now.

    1. Looks like your doing the same running your mouth like a idiot over the internet……..think about what you just wrote you dumb ass…and your giving your opinion on some one so think before you comment idiot ……fact is he hit her he crossed the line he almost hit someone before that so get your fact . And somewhere in there i see no one feels it is his fault …..or you wouldnt comment that dumb shit……so with that said time for you to shut your mouth as you inserted your foot in mouth on that comment

      1. before you put labels on anyone and start being disrespectful remember these were two human beings that you are talking about . They are both great and tragic losses . why don’t you think about the things you write before you do . What kind of person would say these type of things . I hope you find Jesus in your heart one day and realize what you have done is wrong . Matt was a great person and I’m sure this woman was too . I hope the family members never read the things you have written about their son, brother , nephew etc . What an ignorant person one must be to say these things

    1. Fact still remains he went in her lane …..cant change that fact …….she wasn’t in his ….

  6. I a sitting here reading both sides how sad, don’t forget they both had family’s that loved them very much and the only thing you are doing with these harsh remarks are hurting them.I have known Corina since high school and yes it hurts and my husband works with Matthew’s father he said he was so excited his son was home on leave for the holiday’s,he said they are very good people so please stop blaming him,there gone and there’s nothing anyone could do now. Just pray that both family’s get through this and have nothing but good memorie’s.

    1. I believe this is the nicest reply I have read it is sad for both sides of the family and both parties had to been going really fast to cause such an empact but no matter how u spin it it will never change the fact it was an accedent he did not intentional take someone’s life or his own .

  7. That’s a HUGE amount of beer I seen in those photos of Corina. Who’s the fool that posted them and who lent her the car she was driving? I’m assuming she had been drinking. Who killed who? It sounds like there is a lot of blame to go around.

  8. Ha! You must have posted that picture. You missed the point knuckle head/fool, she was surrounded by beer, no matter when the picture was taken. Maybe she was behind the wheel drunk.

  9. Anonymous. Azusa resident, matthew was a great kid. To bad his life was taken so soon. He was in the Marines getting ready to fight for his country. Have consideration he was going to fight for you as well, there is more to this story get your story right. My heart goes out to the Tapia family. We’ll see who in the wrong .I pray that when the results come i out. They will see who was at fault. His parent’s are serving the Lord.

  10. Daisy I totally agree with you. Ana. He was here on leave, and what didn’t happen to him in the base, happened to him here. So sad a drunk driver did this to him. His parent’s were so excited that he was here for the holiday’s. My prayer go out to his family.

  11. My name is Lola she was at a bar prior to the accident. All those pictures of beer of beer says every thing. Dumb people posting pictures of the 3 girls at a bar, they think we’re ignorant. Let the detectives do their home work. Then will see who killed who. Let this rest and the out come tell it’s truth. All this will reveal.

  12. I pray for both family’s that the man upstairs give both families the strenght peace and comfort they need at this difficult time. I don’t think a parent should bury their child. But if your going to drink make sure you have a some one that is not going to drink so they can drive home safely. Let this be a lesson to all of us.

  13. Matthew, did not drink. He was very sociable, he was out going, love life to the fullest. Had a smile from ear to ear, he loved every body and would take his jacket off and give it to the homeless if needed to. I loved Matthew with all my heart and I still do, he will always be in our heart’s. Just so sad he was taken out by a drunk driver. May he RIP. You will always be remembered by his loved ones.

  14. It saddens me to see some of the vitriolic and hateful comments being posted. Matt was a friend of my children in school and in Boy Scouts. I also knew him and became friends with his father through Boy Scouts. While I never knew Corina, she also sounds as if she was a wonderful person. I am sure that her family and friends will miss her very much. For those who spew such hatred for Matt, I am assuming that it is done out of pain at your loss. Keep in mind that Matt’s family will have to live with the fact that he was responsible for the death of another person regardless of how it happened. Is that not punishment enough for you? Do you really think that Corina would be happy with the sentiments that you are expressing? I pray for the repose of the souls of both Matt and Corina and that their families and friends, particularly those who have posted here, find peace and forgiveness in their lives.

  15. Aynonumos Paul no need to say no more. The girl killed an innocent marine. He did not kill her. She and other girls were at the bar drinking beer after beer prior to the accident. They where other girls in the car who left her to die. We need no more exclamation on who did what. Her picture’s say it all. Look all around her table’s what more can they see. Let God be the judge to all this. He has the last word I feel for her family but they have to step up and apoilize to the tapia family

    1. I am afraid that I will have to disagree in part. I do not know to what extent alcohol played a part in the accident, but to lay the all of the blame on Corina is wrong. Maybe they both made some bad decisions and thus share some degree of fault. But to characterize either Matt or Corina as being a “murderer” or a “killer” is counterproductive. I am sure that God has welcomed them both home where they can make their peace with each other. Again, Prayers for all who are touched by this tragedy.

  16. Anonymous, just saying cuz there were 2 girls there. Not sure. But prayers are going to both sides of the family.

  17. On Wednesday, Matthew’s body was escorted by members of the Patriot Guard to Fairhaven Memorial Cemetery where he was greeted and honored with a flag line and salute. On Friday night, at Matthew’s Memorial Service, it was standing room only and people had over flowed into the hallways trying to attend the service. After the service the motorcycle riding Patriot Guard, with flags flying and colored lights blinking, escorted Matthew’s body to the cemetery; it was breath taking. On Saturday at the funeral, the Leathernecks MC [Marines] placed Matthew’s body into the Hearst. On a slow walk to the grave site, the Hearst was escorted by the family, followed by the Marines, a jazz band (playing New Orleans style jazz) the American Flag carrying Patriot Guard and the Leathernecks MC. I’ve never seen such love and support for one individual. Matthew received full military honors. It was a sight to see. It was awesome and l will never forget it.

  18. @azusa resident
    Shame on you and your heartless family! You guys are a bunch of ignorant people by blaming matt and saying f*cked up sh*t about matt and his family! As what ive seen (pictures of your loved one corrina) she was a bar herself so clearly she ain’t no dam saint and the best person in the world. For all we know she could of been drinking before the accident. Wait for the results hunny before you open your dam mouth!!!! @AZUSARESIDENT

    1. Well jess look up the word ignorant and that I am not I KNOW BETTER AND WHAT I SAY …FYI Looks like Matt was drinking and also dont matter if she was or not Use your brain if you got one PRIMARY PERSON AT FAULT CAUSING ACCI DENT. After being angry I looked at both sides and very sad for both living family members now if you re read my comments never did I say anything about his family…..also I am not part of Corina s family I knew her from growing up so were do you assume my family is heartless? Re read your comment just a couple days ago and looks like your words are a little harsh as well towards her….AND IF YIU NOTICE I LEFT IT ALONE TILL YIUR DUMBASS COMMENT so say what you want @ jess they bith are at rest and HUNNY the report is in in case you didnt know THAT so maybe everyone can see drinking and driving is nit a good idea

        1. Oh im sure they have ……ill leave that one alone ……cant change what happen nor bring anyone back……

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Verified by MonsterInsights