San Diego

Vigil Held for Victims of Fatal, Suspected DUI Crash in Chicano Park

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

The spot in Chicano Park where four people tragically lost their lives after a truck flew off the Coronado Bridge was lit up in their memory Sunday night.

Community and faith leaders gathered at Chicano Park Sunday night to hold a prayer vigil for the four victims killed when a suspected DUI driver hit a guardrail on the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge and fell 60 feet onto a crowd gathering in the park. 

“Pure sadness, broken heartedness, families are torn, just sadness,” Nadia Contreras, a community member who is not related to the victims, told NBC 7. “Even in tragedy people are uniting. So it's a beautiful thing.”

Reverend Shane Harris, Pastor Lonnie Lynch of the Revival Time Church in Chicano Park, and other local faith leaders held the candlelight vigil at 6:30 p.m. Sunday in the park for the families of the victims killed in the crash. 

A scene of hope, unity and prayer in stark contrast to what Chicano park looked like on Saturday afternoon. The crash scene may have cleared, but this is only the beginning of a growing memorial and outpouring of support for the victims and their families.

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.

Cruz Elias Contreras, 52, Annamarie Contreras, 50, Andre Christopher Banks, 49, and Francine Denise Jimenez, 46, were all attending the La Raza Ride motorcycle festival Saturday afternoon when they were fatally hit by the pickup.

Francine Jimenez’s mother came down from LA because she said she needed to see the spot where her daughter took her last breath.

“If anything, the legacy the four people … it's the unity of people that come to Barrio Logan and especially Chicano park,” Contreras said.

Police said two others suffered major injuries and at least seven other people suffered minor injuries.

A memorial at the site of the deadly crash has been growing since authorities cleared the scene of the crash; neighbors and residents have been lighting candles and bringing flowers to the site. 

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.

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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