Dad whose daughter, mom killed by suspected drugged driver speaks out

SAN DIEGO – The father who lost his mother and 2-year-old daughter in a deadly crash on Interstate 15 said his wife and 5-year-old daughter, who were in the same car, were still recovering in the hospital Sunday.

The grandmother and granddaughter were killed when the car in which they were riding was hit by a suspected drugged driver and then a second vehicle in Mira Mesa.

Keira Magat and Lina Pelembergo Nebrida (GoFundMe)

Keira Magat and Lina Pelembergo Nebrida (GoFundMe)

The crashes that killed Lina Pelembergo Nebrida, 64, and 2-year-old Keira Magat, and severely injured two others in the same car, happened early Saturday on southbound I-15 near Scripps Poway Parkway, according to the California Highway Patrol. The victims were in the process of moving from Temecula to National City at the time.

Keira, her 5-year-old sister and their grandmother were riding in the back of a Honda sedan driven by the girls' mother, Jasmin Magat. Their car was struck from behind by a Cadillac CTS, whose driver left the scene, and then was rear-ended by a Toyota Tacoma pickup.

“Thought I was dreaming - it was a nightmare and I wanted to wake up,” said Allen Santos of his family's crash. “It’s really difficult. It could have been prevented. They could have been alive right now.”

Grant Thoren, 31, identified as the driver of the Cadillac, was arrested on suspicion of murder, drugged driving and hit-and-run at his residence in Vista several hours after the crash, authorities said.

“I forgive him already but of course we will never forget what happened because each person has to face the consequences no matter if it’s good or bad.”

Family members gathered at Rady Children's Hospital Sunday, watching as the surviving girl and her mother, the driver, recover from major injuries.

Funeral plans for Keira and her grandmother are pending. Friends of the family are working to raise $10,000 via a GoFundMe page, to help with the survivors' medical expenses and other financial needs.

Authorities say the arrested driver had a criminal history including substance possession. He now faces two counts of murder and vehicular homicide.