Two women killed in out-of-control big-rig crash in El Cajon identified
LA MESA (KUSI) — Two women who lost their lives in a pileup on an East County freeway interchange were publicly identified Thursday as a Ramona resident and her adult daughter.
Nancy Bauerlein, 57, and 29-year-old Jennifer Thompson-Campbell were in a Chevrolet Aveo hit by an out-of-control big rig on the transition ramp from northbound state Route 125 to eastbound Interstate 8 in La Mesa about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Bauerlein suffered traumatic injuries and died at the scene, officials from the medical examiner’s office said. Thompson-Campbell was taken to a hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Timothy Thompson, the son and brother of the victims, told reporters his sister was a mother of two who was a week shy of her 30th birthday.
Both Bauerlein and Thompson-Campbell worked at Fleet Readiness Center Southwest on Naval Air Station North Island.
The crash, which happened about 2:30 p.m. at the Interstate 8 junction with state Route 125 in La Mesa, also severely injured a 6-year-old girl and left three other people less seriously hurt.
The crash was caused by a Freightliner tractor-trailer that suddenly swerved for unknown reasons while traveling on the transition road from westbound Interstate 8 to southbound state Route 125, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The cargo vehicle crashed through a metal guardrail, crossed the northbound lanes of SR-125 and plowed through a concrete divider before colliding with Bauerlein’s Chevrolet Aveo on the adjacent connector to eastbound I-8, the CHP reported. Both vehicles then crashed into a Kia Sorento, transporting Aneta Andarus, her 6-year-old daughter Kristina, her 3-year-old daughter and another adult passenger, who was transported to the hospital with a broken leg.
Aneta, who had been driving the SUV, told reporters her daughter might be paralyzed.
"My baby, she’s not doing OK,” Aneta Andarus said. "Her spine is damaged. She may not walk anymore.”
The driver of the tractor-trailer and her male passenger were treated at a trauma center for moderately serious injuries.
The collision left the big rig jackknifed across the transition road following the accident, causing heavy congestion in the area into the evening commute.