Three people died and one was seriously hurt Thursday when an SUV tried to outrun law enforcement authorities in a pursuit along southbound Interstate 15 near Rancho Bernardo, federal officials said.
The SUV was being pursued by U.S. Border Patrol agents who said the license plate may be connected to a homicide investigation and human smuggling operations.
When the pursuit, which began in San Marcos, reached W Bernardo Drive at 1:15 p.m., the SUV driver lost control. The vehicle slammed into the guard rail and went over the side of the highway.
The impact flung the SUV into the nearby ravine, CHP Officer Jake Sanchez said.
A man and woman believed to be in their 20s, and a 28-year-old San Diego man died in the wreck. Their names have not been released.
A 22-year-old man from San Juan Bautista, Mexico was the only survivor, according to the California Highway Patrol.
A SigAlert was issued for the area. All southbound lanes except for the HOV lane were closed during rush hour, creating delays that lasted for hours Thursday evening.
U.S. Border Patrol officials said they first came into contact with the GMC Envoy near Deer Springs Road as they were patrolling. Agents said they tried to pull the driver over, but the driver failed to yield and instead took off.
Border Patrol officials confirmed their agents pursued the car to Rancho Bernardo, where the driver somehow lost control and struck a guardrail.
Agents have not said whether the person they were looking for was in the SUV.