A child was killed and two of her siblings were seriously hurt early Wednesday when the car their mother was driving went off a North County freeway near Deer Springs Road for reasons still under investigation.
Investigators with the California Highway Patrol said on Wednesday morning that they believe alcohol was a factor in the crash.
The North County Fire Protection District said the crash was reported just before 2:30 a.m. on northbound Interstate 15, just north of Gopher Canyon Road, when a 2009 Hyundai Genesis crashed about 150 feet down a steep embankment.
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“For reasons that are still under investigation, the vehicle veered off the shoulder, down an embankment and overturned,” said Juan Escobar, Public Information Officer for CHP's Oceanside-area office.
The children's 27-year-old mother was driving the car, with a dog and three children all under the age of 6 in the car. A 5-year-old girl, who was ejected during the crash, and the pitbull both died at the scene, according to the North County Fire Protection District.
The other children -- a 3-year-old girl, who was also ejected from the car, and her 1-year-old brother who was in a car seat -- were critically injured. The mother suffered minor injuries. They were all hospitalized after the crash.
Authorities did not release the identities of those involved in the deadly crash.
“This is a tragic event," Officer Escobar said. "It’s something that could be easily avoided. Please, don’t drink and drive. Please be sure that you do drive the speed limit and that you also wear your seatbelts.”
The woman who was driving is facing multiple charges, including felony DUI causing death, according to the CHP.
Anyone with information about the crash is being urged to call the CHP Oceanside office at (760) 643-3400.