San Diego

Driver in Fatal Crash Was About to Be Dad

The San Diego man behind the wheel in a violent car crash Sunday was a young father expecting his second child, friends told NBC 7.

Cesar Ortiz, 24, was driving an Acura at a high rate of speed near Main Street and Industrial Boulevard in Palm City at approximately 2 a.m., San Diego Police said. The car traveled through a red light and slamming into a Honda Odyssey, police said.

The force of the crash split the Acura in half, killing Ortiz and his passengers Christian Osiel Maestro-Melchor, 21, Karla Chavez, 18 and 17-year-old Karina Guerrero.

The sole survivor was hospitalized after undergoing spinal cord surgery. The mother of 20-year-old Ismael Franco said Monday’s surgery will determine if he walks again.

The crash shocked all who knew the victims.

Yesenia Casillas told NBC 7 she wished she could have said goodbye to her friend.

“It hurts that he messaged me and when I saw it he was gone,” Casillas said. “It’s still unbelievable and I can't accept that he's gone.”

Family friend Misael Almazan told NBC 7 that Ortiz was expecting a child with his significant other.

"She's devastated at this point. There are no words that can explain how she feels. She's very hurt,” Almazan explained of the mother of Ortiz’s unborn child.

An online fundraising page mentions that Ortiz fathered a son and was expecting a second child.

All six people inside the Odyssey survived the crash. Two suffered severe injuries.

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