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DUI suspected after 2 vehicles careen off I-805

CHULA VISTA, Calif. -- A Chula Vista man was taken into custody on suspicion of drunk driving after he caused a crash that sent two vehicles rolling off the side of Interstate 805 Monday morning, injuring both drivers, police said.

The collision occurred about 12:30 a.m. on southbound I-805 just south of Telegraph Canyon Road, California Highway Patrol officer Tommy Doerr said. The impact sent a 1997 BMW 325i and a 2003 Toyota Rav4 off the west side of the interstate, badly damaging both vehicles as they rolled into the brush down an embankment.

The BMW's driver, 20-year-old Erick G. Amaya, was taken to UCSD Medical Center with moderate injuries, Doerr said. He was arrested at the hospital on suspicion of DUI and of speeding when he struck the back of the Rav4.

The Toyota's driver, 50-year-old Joseph Vinuya, was also taken to UCSD Medical Center after complaining of shoulder pain, though he was later released, Doerr said. Neither man was driving with passengers.

The crash closed one lane on southbound I-805 for about 45 minutes and the Telegraph Canyon Road onramp for about an hour as tow trucks retrieved the vehicles.

The crash comes just days after SDPD Chief Shelly Zimmerman implored drivers to be safe over the holiday weekend.

"Please do not drink and drive or drive in any way impaired," Zimmerman said. "For those that make the wrong and terrible decision to drive impaired, we want you to know this: We will be conducting maximum DUI enforcement targeting drunk and impaired drivers throughout the entire holiday period."

Already this year in San Diego County, 14 people plus an unborn baby have been killed in DUI crashes, the San Diego County District Attorney's Office reported, with the number of DUI deaths already approaching the 19 that occurred all of last year. The district attorney's office said it has already filed charges in 40 serious-injury or fatal DUI cases this year.

"Every DUI fatality case, we can charge as high as murder," Deputy District Attorney Cally Bright said. "More than half of our cases are murder cases, because we're dealing with people who have been warned not to drink and drive ... and people with prior history of drinking and driving, so they have a subjective knowledge of just how dangerous it is to drink and drive."

Operating a DUI checkpoint over the holiday weekend, San Diego police arrested eight drivers suspected of drunk driving in Mission Beach. California Highway Patrol officers made 37 drunk driving arrests in the first 36 hours of the holiday weekend.