Border checkpoint crash ignites vehicle, killing 11-year-old passenger

CAMPO (KUSI) – At around 9:00 p.m. Sunday, a female driver traveling at high speeds did not see stopped traffic ahead of her at a United States Border Patrol checkpoint and crashed into the cars ahead, killing an 11-year-old girl who was unable to escape.

According to the California Highway Patrol, the 29-year-old female from San Diego was driving a 2013 Toyota Camry at approximately 70 miles per hour in the fast lane of west bound Interstate 8, west of Buckman Springs Rd in the Campo region, when she reportedly did not see the stopped traffic ahead of her and was unable to stop.

The car ahead was a 2001 Lexus, driven by an 18-year-old female from Long Beach with her 11-year-old niece sitting in the rear. Stopped ahead of the 2001 Lexus was a 2005 Honda Pilot, driven by a 40-year-old male from El Cajon, with two children in the back seat.

After the Toyota crashed into the Lexus, the Lexus was pushed into the Honda and caught fire. The 11-year-old girl in the rear seat of the Lexus, Rochelle Hernandez of Anaheim, was unable to be removed from the vehicle and succumbed to her injuries at the scene.

The driver of the Lexus was transported to UCSD Medical Center with moderate injuries, while the driver of the Toyota was transported to Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego with major injuries. The two children in the Toyota were transported to Children’s Hospital in San Diego with major injuries. Of the five occupants in the Honda Pilot, none were injured. 

The freeway was shut down for several hours during the investigation and cleanup. The collision remains under investigation and the driver of the Toyota will face manslaughter charges.

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