RAMONA, Calif. -- Family members are mourning the loss of a mother and daughter killed Wednesday in a pileup involving a big rig on an East County freeway interchange.
Nancy Jeanette Bauerlein, 57, of Ramona, was the driver of a Chevrolet Aveo that was hit by a tractor-trailer that crossed into her lane, the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office said.
Bauerlein suffered traumatic injuries and died at the scene, officials from the medical examiner's office said.
Her daughter, 29-year-old Jennifer Campbell, was a passenger in the car, family members said. She died at the hospital from her injuries.
Bauerlein was married and had 5 children and 10 grandchildren. Campbell, a wife and mother of two, would have been 30 years old later this month. Both women worked at Fleet Readiness Center Southwest.
The crash, which happened about 2:30 p.m. at the Interstate 8 junction with state Route 125 in La Mesa, also severely injured 6-year-old Kristina Andarus and left three other people less seriously hurt.
Aneta Andarus told FOX5 that her daughter Kristina may be paralyzed after she suffered spinal injuries and underwent surgery Wednesday night at Rady Children's Hospital.
"My baby, she's not doing OK," Andarus said. Her spine is damaged. She may not walk anymore."
The crash was caused by a Freightliner tractor-trailer that suddenly swerved while traveling on the transition road from westbound Interstate 8 to southbound state Route 125, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The driver told officers she lost control of the empty trailer, which caused her to veer left into oncoming traffic.
The cargo vehicle crashed through a metal guardrail, crossed the northbound lanes of SR-125 and plowed through a concrete divider before colliding with Bauerlein's Chevrolet Aveo on the adjacent connector to eastbound I-8, the CHP reported. Both vehicles then crashed into Andarus' Kia Sorento.
Aneta Andarus said her mother was a front-seat passenger and was transported with a broken leg. Authorities said Kristina Andarus may not have been properly restrained.
A 4-year-old child who was also in the car had minor injuries. “Obviously the child was uninjured but was very scared for what happened to her sister and what happened to her grandma and mom,” California Highway Patrol Officer Ben Demarest said.
The driver of the tractor-trailer and her male passenger were treated at a trauma center for moderately serious injuries.
Officer Demarest said investigators don’t believe the big rig driver, who has not yet been identified, was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the crash. The investigation is complex, he said, and the driver is possibly facing charges.
The collision left the big rig jackknifed across the transition road following the accident, causing heavy congestion in the area into the evening commute.
A gofundme page has been set up to help the Campbell family. Click here for more information.