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Daily Pilot

Driver, 96, dies after crashing into pole

8:35 PM PDT, September 11, 2013

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A 96-year-old man died Tuesday after his car crashed into a palm tree and street light in Newport Beach.

Gex Bennett Coons, of Newport Beach, lost control of the 2005 Toyota Prius he was driving near Dover and Cliff drives Sunday, according to a news release from the Newport Beach Police Department.

The Prius crashed into the tree and pole shortly before 2:45 p.m.

Police said Coons, who was the only person in the car, had only minor visible injuries, but emergency personnel took him to Western Medical Center in Santa Ana for an evaluation.

He was found later to have suffered internal injuries in the crash, according to police. Coons succumbed to those injuries and died in the hospital shortly before 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, according to police and the Orange County coroner's office.

Traffic investigators are working to determine the cause of the crash and other details, such as how fast Coons was driving and whether a medical emergency might have precipitated the accident, Newport police spokeswoman Jennifer Manzella said.

— Jeremiah Dobruck

Twitter: @jeremiahdobruck