ALPINE, Calif. - Two people died Saturday when a sedan veered off Interstate 8 and crashed through a fence in the Blossom Valley area and the California Highway Patrol said the driver faces likely murder and vehicular homicide charges.
Mario Alberto Castaneda-Carranza, the San Diego man at the wheel, has multiple drunken driving convictions on his record, according to CHP officer Kevin Pearlstein.
Two 20-year-old passengers, initially identified as a San Diego woman and a Chula Vista man, were killed.
10News spoke with the sisters of one of the crash victims. They are devastated that their little sister, 20-year-old Monica Lupercio, was killed in the early morning car crash.
"She was my baby … my baby sister," said a tearful Mina Lupercio at the crash scene. "There were three of us … I can't believe this is happening."
Monica is a recent graduate of a nursing program and graduated from Lincoln High School. She was out with friends Friday night but never returned home.
"She was on her way home … and never made it back," added Mina.
The crash was reported shortly before 7:30 a.m. in the westbound lanes approaching Lake Jennings Park Road in the Blossom Valley area, west of Alpine.
According to the California Highway Patrol, the vehicle, which was traveling at about 70 miles per hour, drifted into the center divider area and the driver overcorrected back to the right.
That caused him to lose control of the vehicle, which went through a chain-link fence before crashing into a concrete culvert.
Pearlstein said the impact of the car's right side against the drain pipe killed the two passengers.
The driver, identified as Mario Alberto Castaneda-Carranza, sustained major injuries that were not believed to be life-threatening. He was taken to Sharp Memorial Hospital and remains in a medically-induced coma.
The crash remains under investigation and it appears alcohol and drugs were a factor, according to the CHP.
"It's not fair that he came out OK. He lived. It's always the drunk driver that lives," added Mina.
Castaneda-Carranza is facing several charges, including murder due to a previous drunken driving conviction, vehicular homicide and felony drunken driving, according to Pearlstein.
"He shouldn't have been driving in the first place," added Melinda Lupercio, Monica's other sister. "This could have all been prevented if he just couldn't drive anymore."