Woman Killed in SR-163 Crash

Melissa Houston, 40, died when her minivan slammed into the back of a tractor trailer

By Steven Luke
|  Friday, May 18, 2012  |  Updated 1:06 PM PDT
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A woman driving along SR 163 failed to stop in time and struck the back of a semi-truck. Battalion Chief Ben Castro talks about the scene when firefighters arrived with NBC 7's Steven Luke.

A woman driving along SR 163 failed to stop in time and struck the back of a semi-truck. Battalion Chief Ben Castro talks about the scene when firefighters arrived with NBC 7's Steven Luke.

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An avid runner, triathlete and mother of two died when her minivan crashed into the back of a semi-truck on State Route 163.

Investigators say it appears a tractor trailer had slowed down substantially for traffic cones near the Mesa College Drive exit on northbound SR 163 around 11 p.m. Thursday.

The driver of a Toyota Sienna failed to stop in time and slammed right into the trailer.

The woman behind the wheel, Melissa Houston, 40, of San Diego, was the only person in the vehicle.

Crews say it was obvious there was nothing they could do to save her.

“The speed she was going and the fact that she hit the semi that was going at a slow rate of speed on the freeway did enough damage to her vehicle that it wasn’t really any chance that we could do any lifesaving measures on her,” said Battalion Chief Ben Castro with San Diego Fire Rescue.

Houston was not wearing a seat belt according to the medical examiner.

The crash closed several right hand lanes of SR-163 for a long period of time.

The news of Houston’s death spread quickly as her former Team in Training friends and supporters called each other Friday morning with the news.

Via email, staff members informed each other of "a sad day for Team in Training." 

"Melissa was a coach, a mentor, a mother, a competitor, an advocate, a business woman and most of all, a dear friend. We will miss her dearly," the group posted.

Along with her work for Team in Training, Houston was also a former executive with Rubios.

A vigil is planned at The Leukemia Lymphoma Society offices at 9150 Chesapeake Drive Friday at 7:30 p.m.

The group is also planning a memorial run Sunday, May 20 at 8 a.m. at DeAnza Cove on Mission Bay.

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