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Suspected drunken driver dies in head-on collision

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SAN MARCOS, Calif. -- A DUI suspect was killed and a second motorist less seriously hurt Wednesday in a head-on collision on a North County thoroughfare, authorities reported.

The crash occurred when the driver of a westbound Nissan Frontier veered into an eastbound lane at high speed on East Mission Road in San Marcos about 6:15 a.m., according to sheriff's officials.

“He’s going the wrong way – from what we’re understanding – for quite a while," said Deputy Michael Tingley.

The pickup truck smashed into a Chevrolet Tahoe at Bougher Road, Sgt. Tom Vrabel said. After emergency crews freed the driver of the Frontier, medics took him to Palomar Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. His name was withheld pending family notification.

The driver of the SUV was taken to the same hospital for treatment of injuries that were not believed to be life-threatening.

Preliminary evidence suggested that the driver of the Frontier was intoxicated at the time of the accident.

“When they were extricating him from the vehicle – they could smell alcohol coming from his breath," said Tingley.

Sheriff's investigators say that driver may also have been driving under the influence of a controlled substance.

Traffic lanes around the site of the crash were closed past noon to allow for investigation.

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