Head-on collision on westbound SR-56 leaves 1 dead; Other driver suspected of being intoxicated

CHP: Range Rover veered into Toyota Scion

SAN DIEGO - A head-on collision possibly caused by a suspected intoxicated driver killed one motorist Thursday and seriously injured another on state Route 56 in Rancho Penasquitos, the California Highway Patrol reported.

The wreck near Black Mountain Road occurred shortly after 9:30 a.m., when an eastbound Land Rover SUV veered across a center median and smashed into an oncoming 2010 Toyota Scion, according to the CHP.

The driver of the westbound car, a 22-year-old man from San Diego, died at the scene, CHP public affairs Officer Jake Sanchez said. The victim's name was withheld pending family notification.

Danny Donnellan, a Marine, said he was right behind the Scion when the crash happened. He said he tried to help the driver, but the man had already passed away.

"I checked his pulse, there was no pulse. He was bleeding from his ears and nose; obviously blunt force trauma to the head," Donnellan said.

He moved on to the other car, where the driver had been ejected.

"He was conscious and someone had given him a cellphone to make a call. He was obviously shocked. He told his mom he was going to have to be picked up because he was feeling sick, so he was conscious but very confused as to what happened," said Donnellan.

Medics took the other motorist, 18-year-old San Diego resident Timothy Barnette, to Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla for treatment of severe injuries.

As of early Thursday evening, he is currently listed in fair condition with multiple broken bones

The men were by themselves in their vehicles, according to Sanchez.

Investigators suspected that Barnette was under the influence of some type of medication or other controlled substance at the time of the crash, and criminal charges were expected to be filed against him, the spokesman said.

Donnellan wishes he would have been able to do more for the driver of the Sicon.

"I was able to remain calm throughout it and it's unfortunate I wasn't able to help the victim," said Donnellan.

The accident left the westbound side of the freeway closed in the area into the early afternoon.

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