SAN DIEGO - A teen was killed in a head-on crash between a minivan and a pickup truck near Jamacha Elementary School in the El Cajon area early Thursday, authorities said.
El Cajon resident Julian Fraire, 16, was driving a 2005 Chrysler Town & Country minivan south on Steele Canyon Road about 7:30 a.m. when it drifted into the path of an oncoming 2008 Ford F-450 truck, California Highway Patrol public affairs Officer Kevin Pearlstein said.
Authorities cut the top of the minivan to free the teen from the wreckage, but he later died at the scene. The pickup truck driver, a 36-year-old Jamul man, was taken to the hospital with what the CHP called minor injuries.
It was unclear why the Chrysler veered into the path of the pickup. Investigators planned to examine the Steele Canyon High School student's cellphone to determine if he might have been using it behind the wheel, Pearlstein said.
The accident prompted a roughly four-hour closure of the rural road.
10News learned the teen is a Steele Canyon High School student who earned his driver's license in September.
On March 20, 2007, 16-year-old Zachary Jannenberg died when he lost control of the Ford Explorer he was driving to Steele Canyon High. That accident was in Dulzura.
Many who knew the teen expressed their thoughts online:
"Julian Fraire, you're in a place where there is no cruelty, corruption or violence. I pray that God brings peace to your loved ones."
"Heaven gained another Cougar angel. My heart aches for the family and entire Steele Canyon community."
"Say a prayer please for a life lost and for the parents."
"Can't believe this steele canyon student death, so crazy."
"IM SICK!!!!I have a lot of friends whose kids go there...if anyone hears anything please PM me...GODSPEED!"
Steele Canyon High School Principal Eileen Poole issued the following statement that read, in part:
"Our hearts go out to his family and friends. The counseling staff at Steele Canyon is working with students and staff to help them deal with this tragedy. We have also brought in extra counselors from nearby schools."