Police arrest suspected driver in I-8 fatal hit-and-run

SAN DIEGO -- A 20-year-old man was behind bars Friday for allegedly crashing his speeding car on Interstate 8 in Mission Valley, killing one of his three passengers, and then making a failed attempt to evade arrest.

California Highway Patrol identified the suspected driver as Sajjad Hameed Ismael of San Diego.

The collision happened just after 1:30 p.m. at the east end of Mission Valley near Waring Road.  Helicopter video showed a white two-door sedan with heavy damage to the passenger side resting sideways in the middle lanes of the freeway. A body covered by a yellow tarp was outside of the car on the driver's side of the vehicle.

Just before the collision, the white sedan, which was carrying four people, was seen speeding in and out of traffic, CHP Officer Jake Sanchez said. The sedan came up on slower traffic and the driver hit another vehicle, then lost control, Sanchez said. The sedan veered across lanes and up the embankment in the center median, hitting several trees. It came back down on the freeway and came to rest in the center lanes, Sanchez said.

The passenger in left rear seat was pronounced dead at the scene. The passenger in the front seat suffered major injuries and was taken by ambulance to Scripps Mercy Hospital in Hillcrest. The passenger in the right rear seat suffered minor injuries, Sanchez said.

“The driver from that vehicle fled the scene on foot, and we were able to detain him down at Mission Gorge,” Sanchez said. At a minimum, the 20-year-old driver faces felony hit-and-run for running from the scene of a fatal accident, Sanchez said, but he may face additional charges if he was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The vehicle that was clipped by the white sedan incurred minor damage. No one else was injured in the accident, Sanchez said.

Four lanes were expected to remain closed at the site of the accident through the evening commute, Caltrans advised.

Just before 6:30 p.m., the agency announced that all lanes had reopened.