A retired Newport Beach police officer was behind the wheel in a fatal DUI crash Saturday on Interstate 15 in Fallbrook.
• A retired police officer was driving drunk at an excessive rate of speed on northbound I-15.
• She slammed into a car directly ahead of her without slowing down or even trying to avoid it, police said.
• The violent impact sent both cars across the freeway, through a guardrail, and down a steep embankment.
• The 20-year-old driver of the other car was killed. His passengers — both 19 years old — were seriously injured. One was in critical condition.
• The drunk driver sustained major injuries. She was hospitalized and arrested.
California Highway Patrol officer Chris Parent said 49-year-old retired Newport Beach police officer Katherine Heinzel was driving a 2003 Nissan Altima northbound on I-15 at an excessive rate of speed when the accident happened.
The Altima approached West Lilac Road at a speed faster than a 1992 Toyota Camry traveling ahead of her at about 70 mph, Parent said. Heinzel did not slow down or attempt to avoid hitting the Camry, Parent said. She slammed into it from behind.
The impact was so severe that both vehicles veered across the freeway, crashed through a guard rail, and went down a steep embankment, according to a Fallbrook Village News report.
After the cars stopped, one of the passengers in the Camry — 19-year-old Kris Walker of Perris — got of of the vehicle and went over to help Heinzel. He pulled her out of her vehicle moments before it burst into flames, Parent said.
The driver of the Camry — 20-year-old Dazionne Kelly of Perris — died at the scene.
Walker, the Good Samaritan, suffered moderate injuries. He was taken to was taken to Palomar Medical Center in Escondido to be treated. The other passenger in the Camry — 20-year-old Brian Morast Jr. of Perris — sustained major injuries. He was taken to the trauma center at Sharp Hospital in San Diego, where he was listed in critical condition.
Heinzel, who caused the accident, also sustained major injuries. She was taken to Palomar Medical Center in Escondido, where she was hospitalized and arrested on drunk driving charges.
The accident remains under investigation by the CHP.
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