Two more North County traffic victims die
OCEANSIDE ---- A young Navy man died Tuesday morning when his sports car slammed into the rear of a big rig parked off Interstate 5 just north of Oceanside, authorities said.
Ignacio Moses Perez III, 21, of La Puente, is the 15th traffic fatality this year among crashes investigated by the Oceanside office of the California Highway Patrol, said CHP Officer Teri Reese.
The accident happened at 6:15 a.m. Tuesday. Perez's 1992 Toyota MR-2 sports car, traveling south at 65-70 mph, veered for an unknown reason into the rear of a big rig parked in a dirt area south of Basilone Road, Reese said.
"The impact sheered off the top of the car to the rear window," said Reese, adding that the car wedged itself under the trailer. "Alcohol is not suspected as a factor in this collision."
Investigating Officer Marie Thornton believes Perez may have been reaching for an object inside the car or fell asleep, Reese said. She said truck driver Enrique Nava, 47, of Whittier was seated in his cab but wasn't hurt.
Thirty-seven people died in fatal accidents investigated last year by Oceanside CHP officers.
"We're getting a lot of fatals," Reese said. "The vast majority (are caused by drivers) either making unsafe turning movements or being under the influence. Three of the 15 (fatalities) were pedestrians (struck by vehicles) in the freeway areas."
Most of last year's fatal accidents were also caused by unsafe turning movements or lane changes and driving under the influence, Reese said.
As of April 30, the Temecula CHP office had investigated 15 traffic deaths this year, said Officer Merritt Griffin. He said 39 people died in accidents Temecula officers investigated in 1999.
Two people died in Oceanside accidents during the first four months of this year, Oceanside police Sgt. Tom Bussey said. No additional details for traffic fatalities in Oceanside or Escondido were readily available Tuesday.
Carlsbad, which averages four or five traffic deaths a year, has had two so far this year, said Carlsbad traffic Sgt. Kelly Cain. A teen-ager died in a crash caused by a suspected drinking driver and a 3-year-old Murrieta boy ran into traffic in the other accident.
Cain said he pulled one Carlsbad officer off the traffic rotation because the victims in six crashes the officer investigated were all under 20 years old.
"The 3-year-old was the last victim and the officer has a 2-year-old at home," Cain said. "I think that's a lot to bear."
The last person to die before Perez was Jose Santana Flores, 51, of San Marcos. He succumbed Saturday night at Palomar Medical Center to injuries suffered May 8. His pickup truck shot out of control into the path of an approaching big rig loaded with dry cement on Del Dios Highway, near Mount Israel Road, Reese said.