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Two killed in four-vehicle collision on I-15

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) reported that on Saturday, October 10, at approximately 4:02 a.m., four cars were involved in a collision that left two dead.

Fatally injured were 21-year-old Sarah Garcia of Fallbrook and active duty Marine Lance Cpl. Robert Tyler Austin, who had been stationed at Twentynine Palms.

The CHP detailed the accident as follows: Aaron Lowden, 20, of Twentynine Palms, was driving a 2001 Jeep Cherokee northbound on I-15 at 70 mph in the number four lane.

Kyle Cohen, 29, of Chula Vista, was driving a 2001 Volvo S40 at approximately 75 mph in the number four lane.

Due to fatigue, reported the CHP, Cohen allowed his Volvo to collide with the rear of Lowden’s Jeep. Subsequently, the Jeep spun out of control, coming to rest partially blocking the number four lane and the right shoulder.

The occupants of the Jeep exited it to look at the damage and were standing on the shoulder to the right of the vehicle.

Then, a 2001 Chevy Cavalier driven at a high rate of speed by Oscar Tinoco, 18, of Quail Valley, collided with the Jeep.

The collision knocked one of the Jeep’s passengers, Austin, off of the freeway and down onto Gopher Canyon Road. The remaining passengers of the Jeep ran down the hill to assist him.

Tinoco and his passenger, a 17-year-old male from Menifee, fled the scene on foot, leaving the Cavalier blocking the number three lane.

Next, Garcia, driving a 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee at an unknown speed, neared the scene and failed to observe the Cavalier.

The Cherokee collided with the Cavalier, veered onto the right shoulder and traveled down the embankment, across from the Gopher Canyon on-ramp.

Garcia’s vehicle traveled over the metal guardrail and down another embankment and came to rest on its wheels at the bottom. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Austin was transported to Palomar Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.

The other three Marines in the Jeep – Lowden, Joshua Naimi, 29, and Robert McBee, 20 – were transported to Palomar and treated for minor injuries.

Tinoco and his passenger were caught by CHP officers as they attempted to flee the scene. The passenger was also transported to Palomar and treated for minor injuries.

Tinoco was arrested at the scene and booked into the Vista Detention Facility for gross vehicular manslaughter, felony DUI, driving under the influence of alcohol (blood alcohol content 0.08 percent or higher) and felony hit-and-run.

The northbound I-15 from Gopher Canyon was shut down for five and a half hours to investigate the collision and remove the vehicles involved.


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