A teenage driver has been charged as a juvenile in connection with a crash off a transition ramp in Mission Valley that killed two teenagers and injured two others, the District Attorney's Office said Thursday.
The 17-year-old driver was suspected of being under the influence of alcohol and speeding when a BMW struck a guardrail on the ramp between westbound Interstate 8 and southbound state Route 163.
The car launched from the ramp then plummeted to the ground 40 feet below where it burst into flames, California Highway Patrol said.
The bodies of Gustavo Beltran and David Chavez, both 15 years old, were found in the scorched vehicle. Beltran was identified by family through a GoFundMe and Chavez was identified by the Medical Examiner's Office.
Three other teenagers, including the driver, were able to escape from the vehicle and survived, though they were severely injured, CHP said.
The two surviving passengers were identified by family members as Gerardo Cedillo and Samuel Torres. Cedillo has since been released.
The Poway Unified School District confirmed on Thursday that some of the teenagers involved in the crash were students of their schools.
"It is with deep sadness that I write to you about the tragic car accident involving some of our students this past weekend. We know several of our schools are impacted and we have been providing counseling services at those sites. If you know a student struggling with the news, please reach out to one of our counselors for help.
"As a parent myself, I cannot imagine the grief that their families are experiencing right now. On behalf of myself and the Board of Education, we offer our sincere condolences and ongoing support. This tragic news impacts our entire community, and we are all heartbroken over this sudden loss of young lives," PUSD Superintendent Marian Kim Phelps said.
The charges against the driver were not released by the DA because the case was being handled in juvenile court. It was not clear if the teen could also face charges as an adult in the future.
CHP said the teen did not have a license and the car was not registered to him, CHP said.
Because of the possible criminal nature of the crash, investigators combed every inch of the crash site to figure out what happened.