SPRING VALLEY, Calif. – Authorities have identified a 35-year-old Spring Valley mother who was killed when her SUV rolled several times after she swerved to avoid a car merging in front of her on a Spring Valley highway.
Maria Cristina Duran was driving with a 17-year-old boy and 12-year- old girl in her Kia Sportage about 7:30 a.m. Tuesday when she was fatally injured in the crash on westbound state Route 94, according to the California Highway Patrol and San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that Duran’s passengers were her children. Her son was seated in the front passenger seat, while her daughter was in a back seat behind her brother.
Duran was westbound on SR-94 when a gold Honda Civic driven by a 23- year-old man merged onto the highway from Kenwood Drive and quickly maneuvered into the far left lane of the two-lane highway, CHP Officer Ben Demarest said. The Civic “veered into the lane within a short distance to the front of (Duran’s) vehicle,” the Medical Examiner’s Office said.
“In an apparent attempt to avoid collision, the decedent veered off of the left side of the highway and into the adjacent grass area,” the Medical Examiner’s Office said. “It then appeared that (Duran) over-compensated and turned back towards the highway lanes.”
The SUV veered back onto the paved highway before rolling back into the grassy center median area, authorities said. It came to rest with the driver’s side on top of the low metal barrier separating eastbound and westbound lanes.
Despite wearing her seat belt, Duran was partially ejected from the vehicle and died at the scene, Demarest said. Her children suffered minor injuries.
The CHP is investigating the crash but investigators do not believe drug or alcohol impairment was a factor.