Former professor, author arrested in connection with University City crash

Police: Prius ran red light, crashed into 3 cars

SAN DIEGO - A man is dead and a former professor and author was arrested on charges of felony DUI and manslaughter in connection with a collision at a busy University City intersection.

The collision involving at least four vehicles was reported at about 10:50 a.m. at La Jolla Village Drive and Genesee Avenue, according to San Diego police.

Police said a silver Toyota Prius traveling westbound on La Jolla Village Drive ran a red light and struck an Audi sedan and a Volkswagen that were turning from southbound Genesee Avenue onto eastbound La Jolla Village Drive. The Prius also struck a Nissan pickup truck that was turning onto La Jolla Village Drive from northbound Genesee Avenue, police said.

The driver of the Volkswagen, an elderly man, died at the scene of the pileup despite medics' attempts to resuscitate him. His female passenger suffered serious injuries, while the motorists in the Prius and Audi had minor injuries, SDPD Officer Frank Cali said. The driver of the pickup was unhurt.

Officers closed down the road crossing and issued a congestion alert for the heavily traveled area, SDPD Detective Gary Hassen said.

On Wednesday afternoon, 10News learned the driver of the Prius, identified as Soranun Booppanon, who police say was on her way to the VA Hospital, was taken into custody and booked on suspicion of felony DUI and manslaughter charges.

Police have not released what led to the DUI arrest, but 10News is learning more about 39-year-old Booppanon.

On her LinkedIn page, her credentials include a PhD and current work as a management consultant. She is a former professor at National University and wrote a book about job satisfaction in the Air Force.

A search of public records uncovered six traffic infractions since 1995. All of them were in Virginia, including five speeding tickets. One was a 70 in a 45 mph zone. Another was a 42 in a 25.

The identity of the Volkswagen driver has not been released. His passenger, an elderly female, remains in serious condition.

This incident is separate from another accident that happened in front of Scripps Memorial Hospital on Genesee Ave that blocked Interstate 5 offramps.

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