Woman killed in El Cajon crash: Witnesses say other driver ran red light

Victim identified as Michelle Hay

EL CAJON, Calif. - A motorist who possibly ran a red light at an East County road crossing Friday caused a broadside collision that left her injured and the other driver dead, authorities reported.

The crash occurred when a westbound Acura Integra entered the intersection of East Washington and South Mollison avenues in El Cajon against a stoplight and smashed into a Chevrolet Sonic shortly before 6:30 a.m., according to El Cajon police.

The impact sent the Sonic toppling onto its side and fatally injured its 36-year-old driver, Lt. Frank La Haye said. The woman, identified as Michelle Hay, died at the scene.

Medics took the other motorist, a 43-year-old El Cajon woman, to a hospital for treatment of injuries that were believed to be non-life- threatening, La Haye said.

Preliminary evidence indicated that the driver of the Sonic was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the wreck.

The victim's mother, Dreama Hay, is grief-stricken.

"This guy ran a red light and she didn't have her seatbelt on and she always wears her seatbelt," said Hay.

The victim's aunt called her "a fun-loving homebody; didn't drink, full of life, she loved her nephew and she would love all this drama on the news right now because she was a drama queen."

Speeding and intoxication did not appear to have been factors in the accident, though investigations were ongoing, according to La Haye.

David Daoud told 10News he was right behind the Chevy when the accident happened. He raced up to see if he could help.

"All I can see is that face, it's a horrible thing," Daoud said.

Sadly, it was too late for the driver of the Chevy. She died as Daoud provided whatever comfort he could.

"You wish you can help that woman and you can't and that bothers me," Daoud said.

Some neighbors in the area told 10News the intersection was safer when red light cameras were functioning. The city has since turned them off and covered them.

Daoud said the intersection is dangerous, with or without the cameras. Daoud said the area becomes crazy when two schools in the area let out at about the same time every day.

"I've seen a lot of accidents before the cameras, after the cameras and there will be more accidents to come if they don't do something about it," he said.

Resident Jayne Alfaro told 10News she nicknamed the area "four death corners; too many accidents happen around here."

Red light cameras have been controversial since their inception. San Diego Mayor Bob Filner called a news conference to herald the dismantling of red light cameras at 15 intersections in that city last February.

Ironically, this was a red light camera intersection until recently when El Cajon ended the practice.

Dreama Hay wishes the cameras were still operational.

"Yes, I'm very upset ... don't think they should have done it in the first place; now I really don't think they should have done it," she said.

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