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6 killed within 15 hours in crashes across county

SAN DIEGO -- Six people were killed in five crashes across San Diego County within 15 hours.

Around 12:30 a.m.,  a fiery head-on collision involving a wrong-way driver on state Route 52 in the Clairemont area left both drivers dead.

About three hours later, a driver was killed when a vehicle crashed into a tree off eastbound Camino Del Norte near Camino San Bernardo in 4S Ranch.

Around 8:15 a.m., a 19-year-old woman was killed in Poway when she crashed into the rear of a Sparklets Water truck that had broken down on the side of the road Scripps Poway Parkway.

Two motorcyclists were also killed in separate crashes Monday night -- one on Interstate 805 in Normal Heights around 11:15 p.m. and the other near the intersection of Friars and Mission Center roads shortly before 6:30 p.m., authorities said.

Throughout the morning Tuesday, California Highway Patrol officers were going from one accident to another. The investigations left officers feeling exhausted after witnessing multiple deadly crash scenes. They said from an emotional standpoint, even trained professionals can get worn down.

“It’s very difficult to have to tell a loved one that their family member isn't coming home,” said CHP Officer Jake Sanchez.

With programs like peer support groups, the CHP is prepared to help its officers deal with trauma they have witnessed. Officers also know to look out for the well-being of fellow officers and to get help if they show signs of irritability, loss of appetite or a sense of being withdrawn.

Officers have struggled to determine the reason so many crashes happened within the short time frame. There was no rain, no wind -- no obvious causes that officers can find.

“The sad part is most of these accidents could have been avoided if people just pay more attention to the road…statistically, we lose a driver in San Diego County every three to four days. I don’t know if we’ve had so many fatal accidents before,” said Sanchez.