Two North County couples who were lifelong friends died Friday in a fiery crash on state Route 76, said an investigator with the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office.
Vista residents Luis Baez, 51, and his wife, Rubi Baez, 46, were trapped and died in a burning car along with their friends, Escondido residents Jesus Degantiago, 45, and his wife, Lina Degantiago, 46, according to the investigator.
The foursome were trapped following a crash that was reported at 11:53 p.m. on Friday near Pauma Valley Road, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Between them, the couples leave behind several children between the ages of 13 and 25, the investigator said.
Witnesses at the scene reported that two overturned vehicles were fully engulfed with flames with people trapped inside. CHP officials dispatched fire crews, Caltrans and an air ambulance.
Two adults in the other vehicle were taken to a local hospital with serious injuries, the investigator said.
Both vehicles burned for at least 30 minutes, according to entries on the CHP's incident log.
The wreck caused several closures near the area of the wreck and traffic was diverted throughout the early-morning hours, CHP said.
According to a CHP dispatcher, the two-lane section of state Route 76 just west of Agua Tibia Avenue and just east of Magee Road was shut down until 7 a.m. for the investigation and cleanup.
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