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East County

A Chula Vista boy died early Monday morning after he was thrown from his cousin’s car, which was traveling west on Interstate 8 in East San Diego County.

Darnell Gist, 13, a student at Chula Vista Junior High School, and Jacqueline Lechuga, 19, of Tucson, were thrown from a 1988 Mercury shortly before 6 a.m. after it went over a 30-foot embankment about one mile east of Crestwood Drive.

Apparently the driver of the car, Garland Gist, 21, fell asleep at the wheel and, when he awoke, realized that he was drifting onto the left shoulder. A California Highway Patrol dispatcher said the driver yanked the wheel to the right, forcing the car to run across the lanes and over an embankment.

All three were taken to AMI Medical Center in Campo, where Darnell Gist was pronounced dead. Lechuga was transferred to Sharp Memorial Hospital, where she was listed in serious condition, said Pauline Renner, Sharp’s nursing supervisor. Garland Gist was treated for minor injuries at AMI Medical Center and released.

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