Steele Canyon HS Student Dies in Head-on Crash

Julian Fraire, 16, drifted into oncoming traffic on his way to school

A teenager on his way to school was killed in a head-on collision Thursday morning near El Cajon, officials confirmed.

The California Highway Patrol has identified the victim as Julian Fraire, 16, a junior at Steele Canyon High School.

The accident happened at 7:20 a.m. in the 2900 block of Steele Canyon Road just north of Campo Road, about two miles away from the school.

The teenager was heading south on Steele Canyon when his Chrysler minivan collided head-on with a Ford F-450 truck, according to officials.

Officials said for some reason, the teen got distracted and crossed the double yellow lines into the path of the truck.

A medical helicopter landed on the road to transport the victim, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the truck, described by investigators as a 36-year-old man from Jamul, was transported to Sharp Hospital with minor injuries.

Cal Fire, CHP and San Diego County sheriff’s deputies responded to the crash.

Officers say they are examining Julian's phone records to see if texting and driving could have caused the crash. They say the teenage driver just got his license last September.

“It hits all of us hard, regardless of who’s at fault or what happened," said CHP Officer Kevin Pearlstein. "Unfortunately, it’s a tragedy. A 16-year-old has been taken from his family, and it’s a tragedy the school is going to have to deal with as well.”

Officials said both vehicles were going the speed limit and it does not appear alcohol or drugs were factors.

Steele Canyon Road between Willow Glen Drive and Campo Road was closed for four hours after the deadly crash. The wreckage was towed away just after 11 a.m.

Students say school officials made an announcement about Julian's death Thursday morning.

Steele Canyon High School Principal Eileen Poole shared her condolences in a statement:

Our hearts go out to his family and friends. The counseling staff at Steele Canyon is working with students and staff to help them deal with this tragedy.

Poole said extra counselors have been brought from nearby schools to help students work through their grief.

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