Advertisement
Share

Wrong-way crash that killed 2 San Diego police detectives was an accident, autopsy shows

Mourners pass a photo of a police couple projected onto a tall screen.
Mourners walk past a slide show at a memorial service for San Diego police Dets. Jamie Huntley-Park and Ryan Park on June 15 in San Diego.
(Eduardo Contreras / San Diego Union-Tribune)

A head-on crash in June that killed two off-duty police detectives and a Ramona woman who was driving the wrong way on the freeway was an accident, according to a recently released autopsy finding by the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Sandra Lee Daniels, 58, had a small amount of Valium in her system but no alcohol and normal glucose levels when she entered the southbound 5 Freeway in San Ysidro and headed north, the autopsy report said.

Daniels slammed head-on into a car driven by Det. Ryan Park, 32, killing him and his wife, fellow Det. Jamie Huntley-Park, 33. Autopsy reports said all three died from multiple-blunt force injuries in the June 4 crash.

Advertisement

A toxicology expert said the amount of Valium or diazepam detected in Daniels’ body was relatively small, and it would be difficult to pinpoint the last time she used the drug.

She had a glucose level of 159 mg/dL, which is considered a normal level, according to Dr. Steven Campman, the county’s chief medical examiner.

Two women and a man were killed in the crash at about 10:25 a.m. on Interstate 5 near State Route 905.

A woman with curly hair in a blue T-shirt smiles.
Sandra Daniels was driving the wrong way on Interstate 5 and crashed into a car carrying two police detectives.
(Darrell Daniels / For the San Diego Union-Tribune)

Daniels was diabetic and had other health problems, including problems with her knees that required her to use crutches to get around. Her husband had wondered after the fatal crash if she had become disoriented because of low blood sugar the morning of the crash.

Darrell Daniels told the Union-Tribune in June his wife was “directionally challenged” and often had problems when she had to drive on Interstate 5. He told the Medical Examiner’s Office the same thing.

“According to the decedent’s husband, the decedent received medical treatment at Balboa Naval Hospital and frequently would go too far on Interstate 5 and get too close to the border,” Deputy Medical Examiner Robert Stabley wrote in the autopsy report.

In June, Daniels said that his wife would not have intentionally driven the wrong way on the road. “She never would have wanted to hurt anyone,” he said. Daniels couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday.

Stabley said Daniels’ husband was unaware of any alcohol consumption or illicit drug abuse by his wife and said she had “no suicidal ideations” or prior suicide attempts.

The morning of the crash, Sandra Daniels had driven to the hospital to pick up insulin before heading south toward the border.

Park and Huntley-Park were in the fast lane in their unmarked, department-issued car when they collided with Daniels’ car.

Park and Huntley-Park were two well-liked detectives who officials said had promising careers ahead of them at the San Diego Police Department. The couple lived in Escondido.

They had met while in the San Diego police academy in 2012 and married in 2016 — and were promoted to detectives on the same day in 2018. Park investigated homicides while Huntley-Park worked in the Police Department’s Southern Division.

Huntley-Park played hockey in college and was a coach and a mentor to younger players. She also worked as a hockey referee with aspirations of working Olympic games.

Park was an avid runner who participated in the grueling annual Baker to Vegas 120-mile relay race run by law enforcement teams.

The day they died they were off the clock but following up on cases when they were hit.


Advertisement