4 killed in South Bay collision named

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SAN DIEGO — Authorities released the names Tuesday of four young people killed over the weekend in a South Bay collision so violent it tore a car in two.

Karla Chavez, 18, Karina Guerrero, 17, Christian Maestro-Melchor, 21, and Cesar Alfredo Ortiz, 24, were in a southbound Acura sedan that went through a red light at high speed and plowed into a westbound Honda Odyssey minivan at Industrial Boulevard and Main Street in the Palm City area shortly before 2 a.m. Sunday, according to the county Medical Examiner’s Office.

The car then struck a traffic-signal pole and was ripped in half. The victims were ejected onto the roadway, where they died.

A fifth person in the Acura suffered severe injuries and was hospitalized in critical condition. The 20-year-old man’s name was not released.

Several occupants of the Odyssey were checked out for complaints of pain, according to San Diego police.

It remained unclear this afternoon who had been behind the wheel of the Acura, a coroner’s investigator said. Relatives of the victims, however, told reporters that Ortiz had been the one driving.

The group of youths had left a party just prior to the deadly crash, according to friends.

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