QuachGate: That Elusive 85 Minute Gap


Councilman Andy Quach

Councilman Andy Quach

On the evening of his DUI accident Westminster Councilman Andy Quach told authorities and the Orange County Register that he was at the West Coast Seafood Buffet Restaurant at 15440 Beach Blvd., in Westminster meeting with friends and that he had fallen asleep on his way home from that gathering. According to police reports, Quach collided with a vehicle that was travelling eastbound on McFadden Avenue about a mile away from West Coast Buffet at 00:10 am on August 2, 2009. That collision caused Quach’s Mercedes S550 to take out a utility pole and a portion of a block wall. More than 300 Westminster residents were left without electricity service for approximately 13 hours.

That seems pretty straight forward until you examine the statements of the owner of West Coast Seafood Buffet. He told the Orange County Register that Quach and his friends left his restaurant prior to 11 pm (approximately 10:45 pm). The owner also indicated that Quach was not visibly intoxicated at the time of his departure.

CitrystSo what happened during that 85 minute gap between the time the owner of West Coast says people left and the accident. Was Andy Quach drinking in his car during that time or was he drinking somewhere else? I’m leaning towards the latter and I am pretty sure I know where.

As I mentioned in my previous post QuachGate: It’s a Bloomin Onion, sources have told TheLiberalOC that Quach and Assemblyman Van Tran had a meeting at Citryst Restaurant that evening with several major donors and potential donors to Tran’s Congressional campaign. Among those in attendance was Gary Tang. What I was unsure of was the exact time of the meeting. Because of Quach’s accident and the attempt to conceal what actually occurred, I have narrowed down what I believe to be the timeline of events.On the evening of August 1, 2009; Quach, Tyler Diep, Assemblyman Van Tran, Gary Tang and others were dining and drinking at West Coast Seafood Buffet, until approximately 10:45 pm. I believe that Tyler Diep left the gathering at around 10 pm. Between 10:30 and 10:45 the remaining members of the party left West Coast Seafood Buffet to go to Citryst Restaurant for a more lively environment since West Coast Seafood Buffet had closed and no one else was there.

I believe that Quach and Tran were travelling together in Quach’s vehicle. I believe that Quach and Tran arrived at Citryst between 10:30 pm and 11 pm. I believe that Gary Tang was also present at Citryst Restaurant with them until they left shortly after midnight. During that time, based upon statements by Gary Tang, they consumed alcohol that was not beer or wine as approved for service at Citryst Restaurant under their ABC license and Conditional Use Permit. The fact that the surveillance recordings from Citryst Restaurant between 10:30 pm and midnight required by their Conditional Use Permit are missing or not recorded at all is be far too much a coincidental occurrence to be unrelated to the Quach accident. I have determined that Gary Tang was the driver that was pulled over on suspicion of DUI at Brookhurst and McFadden (where Citryst is located) two minutes prior to Quach’s accident.

Assemblyman Tran stated to the Orange County Register that he had received a call from Quach who was distraught and unintelligible and that he could not understand what he was saying. Despite his inability to understand what Quach was saying Tran somehow knew where Quach was.

I believe that my initial theory that Quach was driving Tran home when he missed his turn onto Magnolia and made a sudden u-turn resulting in the accident is accurate. I can find no other possible reason for Quach to be where he was. His residence, based upon his most recent campaign committee statement and his FPPC Form 700 indicate his residence as 15123 Brookhurst (about ¼ mile north of Citryst Restaurant). Based upon this information I think it is reasonable to conclude, that it is more likely than not, that Assemblyman Tran was indeed with Quach when the accident occurred.

I have requested the photos from the accident scene and have been told that they are not releasable at this time. Such release would certainly clear things up.

TheLiberalOC has tried to get Quach and Tran to respond to inquiries about the accident to no avail.

question-markWe would like to give Assemblyman Tran the opportunity to explain how he knew where Quach was if, as he stated, “he could not understand what he was saying.” We would like Tran to explain whether he was lying to the Register when he told them that he was at the accident scene as Quach’s friend, or if he was lying to the Police when he claimed to be Quach’s attorney? Maybe he was there in both capacities, but that is currently unclear. We are also really curious, did Tran ever represent Quach in a legal matter previously?

We would like to give Councilman Quach the opportunity to explain where he was during the 85 missing minutes preceding his accident, but Quach isn’t talking.

We would like to ask the driver and passengers of the vehicle that Quach hit, but they aren’t talking.

We would like to ask Gary Tang about his recollection of events, but we understand that he is currently out of the country in Vietnam.

I have to wonder if the Westminster Police Department will recommend the revocation or suspension of the Conditional Use Permit for Citryst for “terminating the surveillance recordings” at 10:30 pm on August 1, 2009. Citryst was shut down for five days in June for criminal violation of their permit and have had numerous other violations of their permit. The Police Department previously recommended revocation of their permit to operate.

I have to wonder if the Westminster Police will move to suspend or revoke the permit for West Coast Seafood Buffet for serving Quach who had to have been clearly intoxicated if he was indeed, as Quach claims, at that establishment until just prior to his accident.

At some point this convoluted story is going to completely unravel. We will let you know what’s happening as it does.