SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) – A woman and three children are in the hospital Monday, after they were hit head-on by a wrong way driver on State Route 52.
The crash happened just before 9:00 p.m. Sunday on SR 52 just east of Santo Road in the Tierrasanta area.
30-year-old Matthew Leonardo of Santee entered the freeway at Mast Boulevard, driving his Ford Focus the wrong way for at least a mile.
The CHP reports that Leonardo was heading west in the eastbound lanes of SR 52, when his car slammed head-on into a minivan, while both vehicles were going about 65 miles per hour.
A mother and her three children, ages 10, 12, and 17, all in the van at the time of the crash, are the family of a popular basketball coach and P. E. teacher at Cathedral Catholic High School, Will Cunningham.
"The Cathedral Catholic Community is saddened by the news and we ask everyone for their prayers and support," school spokeswoman Kimberly King told News 8.
Coach Cunningham's wife Alisa, and their three children, including 17-year-old Taylor, a student at the school, were driving along the 52 past Santo Road, when Leonardo slammed into their mini-van.
A witness said, "I swerved out of the way and honked a couple times, and then I heard it hit the car behind me and I saw it in my rear view mirror."
Taylor, is the reigning Miss San Diego Outstanding Teen for 2013. She suffered the most severe injuries.
On the pageant's Facebook page, a post read in part: "Taylor is now in surgery to monitor brain pressure. She is a fighter and we know that all the support is making a difference."
Staff members at Cathedral Catholic High School have also been posting updates on the school's Facebook page.
One says, "Our Dons family is strong today and asks for God's strength and healing to be with the Cunninghams."
"The whole family has just been deep in our prayers," King said.
Tuesday morning, the entire student body is expected to gather for a special prayer service inside the campus gym.
Counselors will also be on hand to help those who are struggling to accept yet another crash that may have been caused by alcohol.
An official on the scene said, "There was an odor of an alcoholic beverage emitting from the vehicle."
Witnesses say they tried to save Leonardo at the scene, but he died instantly. The medical examiner says an autopsy is scheduled for sometime Monday, which will answer questions as to whether drugs or alcohol were a factor in the crash.