I-15 crash victims were L.A. County residents headed to Mexico funeral

Three people, including a married couple, from Los Angeles County were killed Friday when their sport-utility vehicle crashed after flipping over the center divider of the 15 Freeway in San Diego County, authorities said.

The black 2001 Ford Expedition was carrying six people who were traveling to Mexico to attend a funeral, said California Highway Patrol spokesman Officer Jim Bettencourt.


The driver, a 25-year-old man from Monrovia; his wife, 22; and her brother's girlfriend, a 21-year-old from Santa Monica, died in the crash, which occurred shortly before 12:30 p.m. near Escondido. None of their names has been released.

The deceased couple's 2-year-old daughter, who was strapped into her car seat, survived with no injuries but was taken to a San Diego hospital as a precaution.

The family matriarch, 43, and her 21-year-old son were hospitalized with moderate injuries. She's also the mother of the dead 22-year-old woman.

The family found out Friday that the 43-year-old woman's father had died during the night, and had scrambled to travel to Mexico to attend the funeral.

Investigators believe the two women who were killed were not wearing seat belts.

A San Diego County sheriff's deputy happened to be in a car traveling behind the sport-utility vehicle and told investigators the tread on one of the tires stripped away, causing the driver to lose control.

"The tire didn't explode; the middle tread just flew off," Bettencourt said.

The SUV rolled over the center median into the northbound lanes of the freeway, but no other injuries were reported. Aerial footage of the scene showed suitcases strewn among debris next to the guardrail.

The investigation was in progress, but authorities did not believe drugs or alcohol were involved.