A Loyola Marymount University (LMU) student died Saturday, January 7th, after the 2005 Toyota Corolla she was riding in with four other people was struck head-on by a 1997 Ford Explorer SUV traveling the wrong way on Interstate 15 in San Diego County, university and California Highway Patrol (CHP) officials said.
The driver of the car as well as the SUV driver also died.
Allison Dewart, 18, of Torrance, was a passenger in the car and was taken to an area hospital, where she subsequently died of her injuries at 12:05 p.m., CHP officer Mark Gregg said. Dewart was a freshman at LMU.
The driver of the 2005 Toyota Corolla, Michella Matasso, 19, of Harbor City, died at the scene. Three other female passengers in the car, all from Torrance, received major injuries in the crash and were taken to area hospitals for treatment, Gregg said.
Atsu Sedor, 37, of Murrieta, the driver of a 1997 Ford Explorer heading the wrong way on the freeway, was also killed, Gregg said. There were no other passengers in Sedor’s vehicle.
The crash occurred at 1:50 a.m. when Sedor’s vehicle was traveling north in the southbound lane of I-15, north of West Bernardo Drive in Rancho Bernardo, and collided head-on with the Corolla driven by Mattaso, CHP officials said.
It is unknown how fast the two vehicles were going at the time of the collision.
Toxicology tests are being conducted by the coroner to determine if Sedor was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident, Gregg said.
CHP officials said a second collision occurred five minutes after the fatal accident when a vehicle driven by a Poway man rear-ended a big rig in the traffic backup on I-15 southbound that resulted from the first accident.
The Poway man suffered major head trauma in the collision, according to the CHP.
The two collisions forced the closure of I-15 southbound for approximately four hours. San Diego CHP officials are continuing the investigation.
Dewart had recently finished her first semester as a student at LMU, said Michelle Williams, LMU spokeswoman.
LMU spring semester classes started Monday, January 9th.
“After hearing about something like this happening to a student it’s devastating to the whole community,” Williams said.
Dewart was killed only five months after two other LMU students, Jessica Hanson and Adam Bacon, died in a van crash on Interstate 40 near Needles.