Three people died in a fiery Christmas night crash on southbound Interstate 5 in Oceanside.
The names of the victims were not immediately released, but California Highway Patrol officers identified one as an Escondido man and the other two as a man and woman in their 80s from San Diego.
The Escondido man was behind the wheel of a 1996 Nissan sedan about 5:20 p.m. Monday, headed south on the freeway toward the eastbound State Route 76 offramp, when he suddenly veered left attempting to get back on Interstate 5, CHP Officer Mark Latulippe said.
Witnesses said the car slammed into a barrier near the transition ramp, coming to a stop on the right shoulder of the freeway.
But for reasons investigators are trying to determine, the crashed car moved from the right shoulder all the way into the far left lane of the freeway, where it stopped, Latulippe said.
That’s where a 2016 Nissan Sentra with three occupants crashed into the older Nissan, sparking a fire that engulfed the older car.
The driver and lone occupant of the car that first crashed into the barrier was killed when the Sentra hit his car, Latulippe said.
A man and woman who were passengers in the Sentra also died; the 65-year-old woman driving that car was taken to Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla with moderate injuries.
A 38-year-old Huntington Park man driving a 2018 Toyota Rav4 was unable to avoid the crashed cars and sideswiped one, but no injuries were believed to have been caused by that crash, Latulippe said.