The two people killed along Interstate 15 early Saturday morning when a wrong-way suspected DUI driver plowed into a vehicle carrying a family of five have been identified.
Teresa Esparza Hernandez, 84, of Escondido, and Rodolfo De la Torre, 55, of Escondido, were both killed in a deadly crash when a wrong-way suspected DUI driver plowed into a vehicle carrying a family of five near Scripps Ranch. Torre was driving the vehicle with five passengers and Hernandez was a passenger.
According to California Highway Patrol (CHP) officials, the deadly crash happened around 3:10 a.m. on southbound I-15 north of Mira Mesa Boulevard.
The CHP said the 21-year-old driver of a black Audi A4 was driving in the wrong direction in the express lanes of the freeway when he collided head-on with a Honda Civic carrying five people.
The Honda Civic changed lanes to avoid the collision with the wrong-way driver, but the wrong-way driver simultaneously did the same maneuver and the vehicles collided head-on.
The CHP said the Honda Civic came to rest in the freeway lane while the Audi was high-sided on the concrete barrier.
The impact was so strong, officials said, both the driver of the Honda Civic – Torre – and 55-year-old Hernandez died at the scene.
Officials said at least one person was ejected from one of the mangled cars.
The Audi landed on the center divider along the freeway.
Meanwhile, fire crews had to pry out two young adults – ages 19 and 21 – and one other passenger trapped in the back seat of the wrecked Honda Civic. The driver of the Audi also had to be extricated from his vehicle.
All four survivors were transported to local hospitals with major unspecified injuries. Their conditions were unknown as of 10:30 a.m. Saturday.
CHP officials said they had arrested the driver of the Audi on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol.
The names of the remaining victims were not released, but the family was from Escondido.
The fatal crash remains under investigation.