Man who caused triple-fatal Christmas crash identified
OCEANSIDE, Calif. — An Escondido man who died in a fiery triple-fatal crash on Christmas night in Oceanside when he suddenly swerved and hit a barrier was identified by authorities for the first time Thursday as Boris Sarsania.
The 52-year-old Sarsania was in a 1996 Nissan sedan on southbound Interstate 5 when he suddenly tried to swerve from an exit lane back onto the freeway and struck the barrier, launching his car into the air before it landed partially in the freeway’s slow lane, authorities said. That’s where it was struck by a car with three family members returning from a Christmas celebration in Los Angeles County, killing a San Diego couple.
Those victims were earlier identified by the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office as Jose Delos Reyes Cortez and Ruth G. Cortez, both 80.
“They were coming home from a family Christmas gathering in Glendale,” wrote son Allan Cortez on Facebook shortly after the tragedy. “Though this is a great loss for my family and the sadness is at times unbearable, we find comfort that they were together and had one last (Christmas) with their family.”
Police said Sarsania was southbound on the I-5 and headed toward the exit for state Route 76 when he swerved and crashed with the barrier about 5:20 p.m. Reports from the California Highway Patrol and the medical examiner’s office differ slightly regarding what happened next, but his car was ultimately struck by a newer Nissan in which Jose and Ruth Cortez were passengers.
The collision sent both cars careening across all four lanes of the freeway and sparked a fire that engulfed Sarsania’s car, authorities said. The 52-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene from blunt force injuries and burns.
Jose and Ruth Cortez died of multiple blunt force injuries, and all three victims were pronounced dead at the scene without lifesaving efforts or medical intervention due to obvious fatal trauma, according to the medical examiner’s office.
The 65-year-old San Diego woman driving the car that carried the Cortezes sustained moderate injuries, CHP Officer Mark Latulippe said. On Facebook, Allan Cortez identified her as his aunt, Cherry Nunez, and said she was in stable condition a day after the deadly collision.