Two 23-year-old women who were killed by an alleged drunk driver in Vista on Friday have been identified, according to the Medical Examiner’s office. A passenger in the other car was also killed in the crash.
Susana Orozco, 23, of Escondido and Erica Oliva, 23, of Fallbrook both work at Valley View Casino. On Friday at around 12:30 a.m., one the women was feeling sick, so they pulled over on the shoulder of westbound Highway 78 just west of Sycamore Ave.
Orozco and Oliva were outside of the Nissan Altima when an oncoming Jeep Grand Cherokee hit the Nissan and the women from behind. They were pronounced dead at the scene.
Orozco's family gathered at a family member's Escondido home on Saturday afternoon. Many were wearing t-shirts with the name 'Suzy' on them. Her cousin, Maero Guzman didn't want to believe the news that Susana had passed away.
"I kept on calling her and calling her. I left her a voice mail. I was texting her just waiting for some response, hoping that it wasn't her," said Guzman.
Guzman said he and other family and friends were trying to be strong for Susana's parents and brother, who have been devastated by the her death. But those gathered to provide moral support stressed how important it was to remember her lively spirit.
"Anywhere she walked in with her big smile, she always lit any room up," said Temi Baeza, the fiancé of Susan's brother. "So many friends coming to visit, it just shows how loved she was," she said.
"She was always a full spirited, fun person to be around. Life of the party you know. Everyone knew her name. She was very social, very giving," said Diana Orozco, a cousin who was born just two months apart. "Suzy will be missed, she will be loved forever. In our minds she will live forever," said Orozco.
Susana's family said Orozco and Oliva had become good friends after working together at Valley View Casino.
“The right front passenger of the Nissan, Gerardo Cortez, age 21, of Oceanside was ejected upon impact but only sustained a minor injury,” Officer Eric Newbury said.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee overturned and crossed all lanes of traffic before coming to rest in the number one lane, according to the Medical Examiner’s office. The driver, Debbie Sumi, 33, was ejected onto the roadway where she sustained major injuries. Her 34-year-old male passenger, Larry Alvarez, was partially ejected and died at the scene.
Sumi was arrested for felony DUI and felony vehicular manslaughter and will be booked into Vista Detention Facility when she is released from the hospital, Officer Newbury said.
The westbound lanes were closed for about four hours.