Girl Critically Hurt in Crash Involving County Residents

A 3-year-old girl was in critical condition with severe head injuries Thursday night at Children’s Hospital in San Diego after a Tustin driver collided with the disabled parked car belonging to the child’s mother in a center median along Interstate 5 north of Oceanside, authorities said.

Hospital spokesman Mark Morelli said Kathy Zapata of Pico Rivera was on a life-support system after being flown in by helicopter. At least 10 others, including seven Orange County residents, received minor to major injuries in the two-car collision.

The child’s mother, Laura Zapata, had pulled her Honda over to the center median with car trouble just south of Las Pulgas Road about 11:04 a.m., California Highway Patrol officers said.

CHP spokesman Joe Roque said that Zapata and another passenger were at a call box when a Jeep Cherokee drifted onto the shoulder and smashed into the Zapatas’ car, throwing all three passengers of the Honda into the roadway.


In the Honda were Olivia Vasquez and Olivia Tobias, both adults, and Zapata’s daughter, Kathy, according to CHP Officer James Pence.

A spokeswoman from Sharp Memorial Hospital said that Olivia Vasquez was in critical condition Thursday night with head injuries. Scripps Memorial Hospital spokeswoman Lynn Morra said she could not release the name of a patient being treated for injuries sustained in the crash.

CHP spokesmen said the driver of the Jeep was Sherri Hiskett, 24, of Tustin. She was flown to Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, where spokesman Mike Dabney said she was released about 3 p.m. after treatment.

Also in the Jeep and taken to Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside with minor to moderate injuries were: Debra White, 24; Daniel White, 4, and Tiffany White, 2, all of Santa Ana, and Melinda Hiskett, 7; Malyssa Hiskett, 4, and James Hiskett, 2.

Roque said the farthest left lane was closed for about 90 minutes, and traffic was backed up for about 2 miles.