SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Two people are dead and a suspected drunk driver is in the hospital, after a crash in the East County on westbound Interstate 8, east of Lake Jennings Park Road in Blossom Valley Saturday morning.
According to the California Highway Patrol, the driver, 26-year-old Mario Alberto Castaneda Carranza, was being treated at Sharp Memorial Hospital. He wasn't critically hurt in the crash, but the CHP says once he's released he could be looking at murder charges.
They were passengers inside a now mangled 1997 Nissan. Just 20-years-old, a male and a female - one in the front seat one in the backseat. Carranza had been drinking and using drugs, according to the CHP.
“I don't understand why people continue to do this. The awareness is out there the punishment out there, the consequences,” said Kevin Pearlstein with the CHP.
The one-car crash happened on the westbound side of I-8 near Lake Jennings Park Road. around 7:30 a.m. Saturday.
A witness told investigators she noticed Carranza's car, drifting toward the center divider. He swerved, overcorrected, lost control and crashed through this metal fence, went down the embankment and missed hitting a patch of bushes by just feet. Instead he slammed into a concrete culvert.
The CHP reports that he was going approximately 70 miles an hour at the time. The vehicle was ripped into pieces and both passengers on the right side took the brunt of the impact.
Emergency crews had to cut the car apart to get to the victims. Both passengers died. Carranza survived. He is in a medically induced coma as of this report and is expected to recover.
The CHP says because of a prior DUI conviction from 2007, he'll likely be charged with murder. And Carranza faces a number of other charges as well. CBS News 8 has been told that he will undergo surgery Saturday night, once he's released officers will be transporting him to the county jail.
The names of the two victims have not been released. The CHP has only revealed that one was from Chula Vista and the other was from San Diego.