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Names of young drivers killed in wrong-way freeway crash released

A badly mangled vehicle was left on the roadway in Rainbow after a wrong-way crash. Officials suspect DUI played a factor.

RAINBOW, Calif. — Authorities Thursday identified a 23-year-old man who killed himself and another driver when he collided with the 20-year-old woman’s car while driving the wrong way on Interstate 15 near Rainbow.

Jacob Rodriguez of Lake Elsinore was driving a white Hyundai Elantra north in the southbound lanes of Interstate 15 around 11:15 p.m. Friday when he collided with a gray Honda Civic driven by Jessica Neumeyer of Murrieta, according to the California Highway Patrol and the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Dispatchers received a call just after 11 p.m. Friday reporting that the Hyundai had entered I-15 at Deer Springs Road, traveling north in the southbound lanes, CHP Officer Mark Latulippe said. An officer from the CHP’s Oceanside office started a traffic break near state Route 76 in an effort to stop the wrong-way driver.

The Hyundai did not stop for the traffic break and continued heading the wrong direction at a high speed, Latulippe said.

The cars collided head-on in the left lane of southbound I-15 near Rainbow Valley Boulevard, the Medical Examiner’s Office said.

Neumeyer was pronounced dead at the scene and Rodriguez was transported to Palomar Medical Center in Escondido, where he was pronounced dead at 4:51 a.m. Saturday, the Medical Examiner’s Office said.

Alcohol or other drugs were suspected to have played a part in the crash, which remained under investigation.