Two pedestrians hit, killed by suspected drunken driver north of Valley Center

Victims were Valley Center couple in their 70s

VALLEY CENTER, Calif. - A man was jailed on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter and felony driving under the influence after the vehicle he was driving allegedly struck and killed two pedestrians Sunday north of Valley Center.

The 20-year-old driver, later identified as Earl Smith, Jr. of Oceanside, was headed east on Old Castle Road near Mauka Drive in a 2011 Toyota Corolla at about 6:15 a.m. when the vehicle drifted to the right and struck the 79-year-old man and 78-year-old woman, who were walking east with their backs to traffic, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Jim Bettencourt.

A neighbor heard the crash and called 911, authorities said.

Both victims died at the scene, the officer said. Their names were withheld, but they were a married Valley Center couple who were well known in the community for walking in the area, according to Bettencourt and the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office.

Smith was uninjured and was arrested, Bettencourt said.

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