San Diego

Rows of Glowing Candles Mark Memorial at Site of Fatal Chicano Park Crash

Saturday afternoon, a pickup truck landed on a crowd at Chicano Park, killing at least 4 people and injuring several others in the suspected DUI crash

Rows of glowing candles mark the spot at least four people were killed and several more injured Saturday in Chicano Park, as the memorial for those killed in a suspected DUI crash grows. 

The crash happened shortly after 3:30 p.m. Saturday when the person behind the wheel of the pickup truck, suspected of driving under the influence, hit a guard rail on the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge, rolled, flew 60 feet off the bridge and landed on a crowd of people at Chicano Park, California Highway Patrol (CHP) Officer Jake Sanchez said. The park sits below the entrance of the bridge from Interstate 5, in Barrio Logan.

At the time, more than 100 people were at Chicano Park, celebrating La Raza Run, a motorcycle festival that had live music, food, art exhibits and a tribute to fallen riders.

Among the four people killed Saturday were a man, 62, and a woman, 50, from Chandler, Arizona, and a man, 59, and a woman, 49, from Hacienda Heights in Los Angeles County. Police said two others suffered major injuries and at least seven other people suffered minor injuries.

Sunday morning, a neighbor came out to the park to light two rows of candles for those killed and injured in the crash. 

The driver, identified as 24-year-old Richard Anthony Sepolio, is alive, police said, but critically injured. He was hospitalized and arrested on suspicion of DUI, Sanchez said. He has been charged with vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, DUI causing injury or death and other charges related to significant injury of others.

According to CHP, Sepolio is an active duty service member with the Navy stationed in Coronado.

One witness told NBC 7 he heard truck screeching as it plowed into the park below.

“I [saw] that truck come flying off the ramp here and onto the people that were underneath them. I was that close to them,” he said. “It’s terrible.”

Another witness, Dolores D'Angelo, was attending the festival at Chicano Park, where she was scheduled to perform with a band. Suddenly, she saw debris and dust flying off the bridge, then saw parts of the car scattered everywhere.

"Pieces of car parts were flying all over the place. When we got up, we turned around, everybody started running over there because we realized, there were people sitting there – there were people sitting right there," D'Angelo described.

"We were trying to get in to see if we could maybe lift up the car, move the car out of the way to see if we could get the people out. There were so many people crowded by then,” she added. “I was trying to call 911 and I think I called it like four times and I don’t know that I ever hit ‘send’ properly because I got really nervous; I got really scared.”

"I saw a car flying through the air, right off the bridge. It looked like -- I couldn't see anybody driving the car. It looked like as if Superman had thrown a car right off the bridge. It was just flying down," D'Angelo added.

Debris was strewn about the crash site; blood could be seen on the sidewalks.

Chicano Park is in Barrio Logan, a predominantly Mexican-American community located about 4.5 miles southeast of downtown San Diego. The park is known for its vast collection of colorful outdoor murals and artwork dedicated to the cultural heritage of the community.

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