San Diego

1 Killed, 2 Injured After DUI Suspect Plows Into Family Coming From Dinner

The deadly, suspected DUI crash happened in the 12000 block of Woodside Avenue in Lakeside just as a family had finished having dinner together at a Mexican restaurant

One person was killed and two people were seriously injured in Lakeside when a family out for a Friday night dinner was hit by a DUI suspect driving without her lights on, officials confirmed.

The deadly crash happened at 8:17 p.m. on the 12200 block of Woodside Avenue near Lakeside Cafe and La Palapa Mexican Restaurant. The family – a man, his girlfriend and his parents – were coming from a restaurant across the street when the driver of a Toyota Yaris plowed into the group.

Witnessed told California Highway Patrol (CHP) investigators the driver – a 21-year-old Katie L. Ellison, suspected of driving under the influence – did not have her lights on and was driving pretty fast.

"I looked up, thinking, 'this guy's going fast, no lights on,'" one witness at the scene told NBC 7. "I looked down at my phone. No sooner than I looked down, I heard, I heard the ‘boom.’ One hit...I knew right away he hit a person."

The parents were critically injured in the crash. Ellison also suffered major injuries. All three were rushed to the UC San Diego Trauma Center. 

On Saturday morning, CHP officials confirmed Lorraine Kennedy, the mother, had died. Her husband was still being treated for major injuries.

CHP officials said the driver was hospitalized for a time but was released Saturday night and will be booked into Las Colinas Detention Facility. She will be charged with felony DUI and murder, and will be booked into Las Colinas Detention Facility.

The suspect’s name and the names of the victims were not immediately released.

According to witnesses, the victims injured in the crash are from Texas and were in San Diego visiting their sons.

Nicole Betterton, a woman who works at the La Palapa Mexican Restaurant across the street told NBC 7 she waited on the family just before the accident. She said the couple had dined with their two sons and the girlfriend of one of their sons.

Betterton said one of the sons performed CPR on Kennedy until paramedics arrived at the scene.

She described the crash as absolutely "horrible" and was very upset to learn the mother of the family had died.

“My prayers are with them," Betterton said, sobbing. "I’m so, so sorry. If there’s anything we can do – our La Palapa family – we will be there for them.”

The accident left other witnesses in disbelief as well, including Kirsten Jensen.

“It’s a wake-up call,” she told NBC 7. “It’s scary to see this happen. Some people don’t always pay attention, and it’s kind of scary.”

Another woman said she stopped at the scene of the crash and hugged one of the sons, crying with him as he worried for his parents.

The names of some victims were not immediately released.

Surveillance cameras from some surrounding businesses may have caught footage of the crash, but all owners said they would only release their recordings to investigators.

Unfortunately, this incident in Lakeside wasn’t the only deadly crash on local roadways Friday night.

At Sharp Mary Birch Hospital, one man died and another suffered serious injuries in a crash in the 3000 block of Health Center Drive. Investigators do not believe that accident involved alcohol.

In the Bay Park community, a woman suspected of driving drunk crashed into a parked car and dumpster. Her mother was in the passenger seat and was killed in the collision.

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