San Diego

Driver in Fiery Crash That Killed 2 Seeks to Shift Blame

Jeffrey Levi filed a claim with the City of San Diego and detective who hit a disabled car

A 37-year-old accused of driving drunk and hitting another car on Interstate 15, setting off a chain reaction accident involving an off-duty San Diego Police Department detective that killed two and seriously injured another said he is not the only one to blame.

On January 10, according to documents obtained by NBC 7 through a public records request, the man, Jeffrey Levi, filed a claim to the city of San Diego, a precursor to a lawsuit, requesting the city and the police department assume “indemnity and apportionment of fault” for the accident.

The crash occurred the night of Jan. 3, 2018. Levi was traveling upwards of 100 miles per hour on I-15 northbound near Mira Mesa when he rear-ended a Toyota sedan with 33-year-old Jesus David Dominguez, 18-year-old Jiovanna Dominguez, and 19-year-old Isaac Felix inside.

The force of the impact sent Levi’s car careening down an embankment, and left the Toyota disabled in the middle lanes of I-15. Soon after, SDPD Detective Richard Rowe, just off his shift at the department, collided with the Toyota, igniting the car in flames.

The crash killed Jesus David Dominguez and Isaac Felix, while severely injuring Jiovanna Dominguez.

Jeffrey Levi was formerly charged Friday for allegedly driving under the influence in a crash on I-15 that killed two people and left two others injured. NBC 7’s Artie Ojeda reports.

A San Diego Police helicopter later found Levi nearly 15 minutes after the crash walking near the area. Three hours after the accident, Levi’s blood alcohol level (BAC) registered at .167, more than double the legal limit.

The families of the deceased men and the injured woman sued the city of San Diego, Rowe, and Levi in September for the death of their son and disfigurement of their daughter.

NBC 7's Dave Summers spoke to family members behind the lawsuit who explained why they think the detective and the city are liable.

Now, Levi is seeking to shift some of the blame for the accident, citing negligence by the police department and the off-duty detective.

“Detective Rowe, driving a city-owned vehicle, struck a disabled vehicle on the freeway causing the death of two occupants and injuries to the third,” reads the claim filed by Levi’s attorney Reetha Haynes-Garretty.

NBC 7 reached out to Haynes-Garretty for comment on the claim. Haynes-Garretty declined to comment due to pending litigation.

The city of San Diego did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.

Prosecutors charged Levi with two counts of murder, two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter, and two felony counts of DUI with serious bodily harm. He has pleaded not guilty on all charges.

His trial is scheduled for June 20.

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