SANTEE, Calif. - A 30-year-old Santee man suspected of drunken driving drove the wrong way on state Route 52 and caused a head-on crash, killing himself and sending four people in the other vehicle to the hospital with major injuries, authorities said Monday.
The man, identified as Matthew Leonardo, drove a 2012 Ford Focus west in eastbound lanes and crashed head-on into a 2001 Dodge Caravan driven by a 45-year-old Spring Valley woman about 9:10 p.m. Sunday, according to the California Highway Patrol. The crash occurred just east of Santo Road in the Tierrasanta area of San Diego.
Leonardo died at the scene and "had the distinct odor of an alcoholic beverage about him," CHP Officer Tommy Doerr said, adding that toxicology tests would be done to determine if the man was too drunk to drive.
Both vehicles were traveling about 65-70 mph when they collided, Doerr said.
10News learned the wife and three children of Cathedral Catholic High School boys varsity basketball coach Will Cunningham were in the minivan.
Cunningham and his son rushed to the scene as medics took Cunningham's wife and three other children to area hospitals -- all with major injuries, according to authorities
10News learned Cunningham's wife, Alisa, and their 17-year-old daughter Taylor are at Sharp Memorial Hospital. Both are in critical condition.
Cunningham's other two children, Jayden and Logan, are at Rady Children's Hospital and both are in critical condition.
Taylor Cunningham, a winner of the title Miss San Diego's Outstanding Teen 2013, is in intensive care. Doctors are fighting to reduce swelling on her brain and she is still unconscious.
Cunningham spoke with 10News Monday night, saying none of this makes sense.
"It's just really shocking because I just saw her in perfect condition like last night, and then this happened and now we can't see her and we can only hear how she's doing and it's just really tough because we all love her and care for her and the Cunningham family," said Cathedral Catholic senior Xavier Williams.
Will Cunningham took over as Cathedral Catholic Dons head basketball coach four years ago. The team just finished their season with a 29-5 record and Western League title.
"As we're experiencing it now, this is very tragic and like I said, we're just doing our best to send our thoughts and prayers to the family and we hope only hope the best," said senior Brandon Michel.
School officials posted this message on their website Monday morning:
"As many of you have heard Coach Cunningham's family was in a car accident last night. At this time people are asked not to go to the hospital so the family can manage things. We will share updates from the family at their request. Involved in the accident, were Mrs. Cunnigham, Taylor, Jayden and Logan. We know mom (Alisa), Jayden and Logan were injured but are stable. We ask for special prayers for Taylor who is in ICU. Our Don's family is strong today and asks for God's strength and healing to be with the Cunningham's. Let us all be together in prayer to support them."
A special mass for the Cunninghams will be held at Cathedral Catholic High School on Tuesday at 11 a.m. Cunningham told 10News he would not be there and instead will be at the hospital with his family.