A 91-year-old woman killed in Clairemont Mesa after a collision with another driver sent her car barreling into a light pole, the impact splitting her vehicle in two, has been identified.
Doris Lucille Guffin of San Diego died in the collision happened around 11:15 a.m. Friday at Balboa Avenue and Mount Alifan Drive, near an AutoZone shop and IHOP restaurant.
The San Diego Police Department (SDPD) said Guffin was traveling southbound on Mount Alifan in a gray Toyota Camry. At the same time, another driver — a 32-year-old woman — was traveling eastbound on Balboa Avenue.
The two vehicles collided in the intersection. Police said Guffin in the Toyota Camry then struck a pole.
NBC 7 news chopper captured footage of the aftermath of the horrific wreckage. The Toyota Camry was in pieces, with half of the car near the pole and the other half scattered across the sidewalk and in a patch of grass about 100 yards away.
SDPD Officer Tony Martinez said the woman in the Camry died at the scene. The San Diego Fire-Rescue Department (SDFD) said the other driver was taken to a local hospital with minor injuries; police said those injuries included bruises and scratches.
Police temporarily shut down traffic on Balboa Avenue, in both directions, from Genesee Avenue to Cannington Drive, and asked motorists to avoid the area. The road closures were in effect for several hours following the fatal crash.
By 2:15 p.m., the westbound lanes of Balboa Avenue had reopened but the eastbound lanes remained closed.
Clairemont resident Jeff Dinter was driving down Balboa Avenue, about a quarter-mile away, when he heard the loud, intense crash.
“It was almost as if a dumpster had been slammed shut,” he said.
As Dinter approached the intersection, he could see police officers swarming the area and traffic coming to a halt. From there, things unfolded very quickly, he said, with officers surrounding the wreck.
Dinter said he had to do a double-take when he saw the Toyota Camry. He thought it was two separate vehicles when, really, it was one car split in half.
“It’s insane,” he said.
Dinter told NBC 7 several witnesses who were eating at the nearby IHOP on Balboa Avenue saw and heard the crash and came running outside.
The group was shocked.
“To have it in your neighborhood, it really just hits home a little bit more. It reminds you to make sure you’re paying attention to other drivers and don’t expect them to stop,” Dinter said.
The investigation was ongoing. At this point, police have not released details of what led to the collision of the cars at the intersection.
The name of the woman killed in the crash has not yet been released.