Two killed in early-morning crashes on I-15 near Escondido - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Two killed in early-morning crashes on I-15 near Escondido

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A quick series of early-morning crashes on Interstate 15 north of Escondido killed a Marine and a woman Saturday.

According to California Highway Patrol officers, one of the drivers may have fallen asleep and another may have been drunk.

The incident began around 4 a.m. today when Chula Vista resident Kyle Cohen was driving north on Interstate 15 near the Gopher Canyon Road onramp, north of Escondido, said CHP Officer Eric Newbury.

The 29-year-old was sleepy and his 2001 Volvo sedan hit the rear of a Jeep Cherokee carrying four Marines in front of him, the CHP officer said.

The Jeep was driven by 20-year-old Aaron Lowden, a Marine stationed at Twentynine Palms. It spun out of control and stopped on the right shoulder, partly blocking the right-most traffic lane as well, Newbury said.

As the Marines looked at the disabled Jeep, a 2001 Chevy Cavalier driven by 18-year-old Oscar Tinoco of Quail Valley hit the disabled car and one of the passengers. One of those men was knocked off the freeway overpass by the Jeep and fell onto Gopher Canyon Road, below the freeway. The other Marines ran down to him, Newbury said.

The Chevy Cavalier stopped on the freeway, but its driver, Tinoco, and a 17-year-old passenger ran from the scene.

Next, Sarah Garcia, 21, of Fallbrook, struck the Chevy in her 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee, which veered down the embankment, across the Gopher Canyon Road onramp, vaulted a guardrail, rolled down another embankment and came to rest on its wheels, according to Newbury and the coroner's office.

Garcia died at the scene.

The injured Marine was taken to Palomar Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead shortly after arrival. His name was withheld pending notification of his family.

Lowden and his two other passengers, Joshua Naimi, 29, and Robert McBee, 20, were also taken to Palomar Medical Center and treated for minor injuries.

Tinoco and his teenage passenger were caught by CHP officers as they ran from the scene.

Tinoco was booked into the Vista Detention Facility on suspicion of felony drunken driving, gross vehicular manslaughter and felony hit and run.

His passenger was taken to Palomar Medical Center and treated for minor injuries.

Northbound Interstate 15 from Gopher Canyon Road was shut down for more than five hours as CHP officers investigated the crash.

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