Man killed in crash on SR-125 identified as Christian Franco

Franco remembered by baseball coach at Chico State

CHULA VISTA, Calif. - The San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office on Saturday publicly named the 37-year-old man killed in a chain-reaction series of crashes on a freeway near Sweetwater Regional Park early Friday morning.

Christian Franco of Chula Vista was ejected from his vehicle and was pronounced dead on the scene, CHP public-affairs Officer Jake Sanchez said. Franco died from multiple blunt force injuries, according to the Medical Examiner's Office.

10News learned Franco played baseball for Sweetwater High School and Chico State. For Chico State baseball coach Dave Taylor, the pain is almost too much.

"It's tough … It really is. Like I said, I've never gone through it before," he said.

Taylor has never before lost a player in 18 years coaching baseball at Chico State. He says Franco was more like family.

"There are loyal people out there but he was, you know, at the top of the list as far as just good guys," said Taylor.

Taylor says that although it has been a long time since Franco played outfield for his team in 1999 and 2000, as Chico State took on UC San Diego Friday evening, Franco's number, 15, was in the dugout.

"I mean, you play in our program, you're in for the rest of your life … Chico State baseball and we lost one of those guys," he said. "It's tough."

The pileup began when Franco lost control of his northbound 2007 Jaguar on a curving stretch of State Route 125 in Chula Vista about 1:45 a.m., causing it to veer off the roadway and hit a center guardrail north of San Miguel Ranch Road, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The impact tore open the left side of the car and ejected Franco, killing him at the scene, Sanchez said.

Moments later, two drivers in Hondas came upon the scene of the accident and collided with each other while veering to avoid the wreckage.

A Hummer then crashed into at least one of the damaged vehicles, and the woman driving the Hummer was jailed for suspicion of drunken driving, Sanchez said.

No other injuries were reported.

The accident forced a roughly 5 1/2-hour closure of the northbound side of the expressway in the area, the CHP reported.

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