In Case You Missed It: San Diego Weekend News Digest for Saturday, Jan. 19

Five local news stories from the previous week

To help make sure you stay informed on the most shared and talked about stories in San Diego County, each Saturday we'll revisit five stories from the previous week and capsulize them in this digest with the most recent updates.

1. Trial Begins for Petty Officer Accused of Killing 4 in Tragic Crash at Chicano Park 

More than two years after the fatal crash of a pickup truck from the ramp to the Coronado Bay Bridge onto a park below, jurors heard opening remarks of the trial of Richard Anthony Sepolio on Monday. 

Sepolio, a U.S. Navy petty officer, was behind the wheel on Oct. 15, 2016 when he crashed his pickup truck in San Diego's Chicano Park, killing four people attending a festival.

“He chose to drink and get behind the wheel,” victims' daughter Maryann Contreras told reporters outside the courtroom. “That's the bottom line. He killed four people.”

Sepolio’s lawyer told jurors that the evidence will show his client was not drunk or negligent, even though he did exceed the posted 65 mile per hour speed limit.

The trial starts for the Navy man facing multiple charges, including DUI and vehicular manslaughter, after he drove off the Coronado Bridge in 2016. NBC 7's Audra Stafford has more.

2. Sketch Released in Investigation of Tot's Remains

Nearly a decade ago, the remains of a little boy were found in a wooded area near a hiking trail in San Diego. Now, a national agency is still seeking answers, mainly, who was that child? 

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children released digitally-produced sketches Tuesday of a young boy whose skeletal remains were found in a wooded area near a hiking trail southeast of Rancho Bernardo Community Park on May 4, 2004.

[G] San Diego's Unsolved Cold Cases

3. Cavernous 30-Foot Sinkhole Shuts Down I-805 Off-Ramp

Even before the week of rain had begun, Caltrans workers and commuters faced the headache of a massive sinkhole on a very popular off-ramp along a central stretch of Interstate 805.

The CHP shut down access from the highway to Kearny Villa Road (near Rady Children's and Sharp hospitals) and worked for several days to patch the hole.

By Thursday, the ramp had been reopened to traffic. Caltrans blamed underground tunnels of water for making the ground unstable and creating  the sinkhole.

Rainy weather conditions are posing another obstacle for crews at the I-805 sinkhole. NBC 7's Melissa Adan is in Serra Mesa with more.

4. Coronado’s 'Sandman' Street Artist Dies in Texas

The Sandman was known for using sand to draw art on the streets of Coronado, sometimes getting into hot water with law enforcement. Alberto Avila began creating sand art about 15 years ago in Chula Vista before moving to Mission Beach and, finally, Coronado.

Avila died Wednesday from liver cancer, his daughter told NBC 7. "He wanted to feel like he made a difference, like he opened people’s eyes," Elena Avila Zermeño said. "The main thing about my dad was that he didn’t want to be forgotten."

5. Westfield UTC to Start Charging for Parking This Month

Westfield UTC will start charging customers to use their parking lots after two hours on Jan. 30. The new parking plan was created because hundreds of vehicles a day were parking in their lots while making visits elsewhere in the local neighborhood, Westfield said.

Along with the new parking plan, UTC also made changes to their parking structures and added a designated Uber pick-up and drop-off site station near Room & Board.

Contact Us