San Diego

Family Sues City, SDPD Detective in Deadly I-15 Crash

The family of a man who was killed in a fiery crash on Interstate 15 in January is suing the city and two other drivers involved in the crash for wrongful death and negligence.

Just after midnight on Jan. 3, DUI suspect Jeffrey Levi was driving northbound on I-15 at Miramar Road at 100 mph when he rear-ended a Toyota carrying siblings Jesus David Dominguez, 33, and Jiovanna Dominguez,18, and Jiovanna Dominguez’s boyfriend, Isaac Felix.

The Toyota, unable to move, stayed in the middle of the lanes on the freeway. Soon after, off-duty San Diego Police Department detective Raymond Rowe, who was on his way home from, crashed into the Toyota. The elapsed time between the two collisions impacting the Toyota is still under investigation.

The Toyota began to smoke and several Good Samaritans pulled over to help the victims inside. They were able to pull Jiovanna Dominguez from the wreckage to safety but moments later, the car burst into flames and Jesus Dominguez and Felix were killed.

The Dominguez family is suing the City of San Diego, Detective Rowe and Levi, for wrongful death and negligence.

"They're law enforcement. They are supposed to show us the example, not for us to show them,” Dominguez’ widow Samantha Munoz said.

The family’s lawsuit claims Rowe was going too fast and did not try to avoid the disabled car, even though other drivers on the freeway had already slowed down or pulled over.

An SDPD spokesperson told NBC 7 the department does not comment on pending litigation.

"I am angry because my brother and my boyfriend didn't deserve this and I feel like if the cop wouldn't have hit us everything would have been ok,” Jiovanna said.

The road to recovery will be a long one for the Dominguez family. Jiovanna's heart is broken and her body scarred -- she suffered broken bones and severe burns on her arms legs and back in the crash.

Following the crash, Levi crashed his red Ford Mustang into a nearby ditch on I-15 and fled. He was found about 15 minutes later walking in the area of the crash by an SDPD helicopter and was taken into custody.

At his arraignment, San Diego County Deputy District Attorney Cally Bright said Levi’s blood alcohol content was measured at .167, more than double the legal limit for driving under the influence, approximately three hours after the crash.

He pleaded not guilty to all charges. Court records obtained by NBC 7 show Levi has a prior conviction tied to drunk driving and a history of alleged violence.

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