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Drug use causes Hwy 76 collision


Last updated 12/22/2006 at Noon

A driver under the influence of drugs caused a head-on collision on Highway 76, just east of Gird Road, at approximately 8:05 p.m. on December 7, law enforcement officials say.

April Lewis, 24, of Escondido was traveling westbound in a 2002 Nissan Sentra just east of Gird Road when, due to apparent drug intoxication, she allowed her vehicle to cross the center line and collide head-on with Patti and Clayton Cooke of Fallbrook. Patti was driving a 1999 Toyota Land Cruiser.

Lewis and her passenger, 24-year-old Merlin Constable of Valley Center, sustained life-threatening injuries in the collision.

Emergency workers spent 50 minutes extricating Lewis from her vehicle using cutters, spreaders and the Jaws of Life, reported John Buchanan of North County Fire. North County Fire dispatched three units and Pala Fire Department assisted with one unit. The roadway was closed for over two hours.

Lewis was placed under arrest at Palomar Hospital. An official with the California Highway Patrol (CHP) says charges (felony DUI, drug charges) will be filed through the District Attorney’s office.

The CHP said the Cookes “were able to get out and [were] transported to Fallbrook Hospital with minor injuries.”


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