Passenger dies when car crashes into ambulance

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SAN DIEGO — A 73-year-old woman was killed and a man was seriously injured on Interstate 15 near Fallbrook Thursday when their vehicle slammed into an ambulance responding to a previous crash on the freeway.

The initial crash happened at around 10:10 a.m. when a Ford Mustang spun out and crashed into the center divider on southbound Interstate 15, south of Mission Road, according to North County Fire Protection District spokesman John Choi.

While emergency crews attended to the Mustang’s driver and his two juvenile passengers, the driver of a Ford Crown Victoria lost control and crashed into an ambulance at the scene at 10:32 a.m., Choi said.

The Crown Victoria’s passenger — an unidentified 73-year-old woman — was killed at the scene, while its driver — an unidentified 66-year-old man from Rancho Cucamonga — suffered major injuries and was taken to Palomar Medical Center in Escondido.

The ambulance’s occupants — who included the Mustang driver, two female juveniles, two firefighters, a California Highway Patrol officer and other emergency personnel — were taken to a hospital for complaints of pain, according to CHP Officer Mark Latulippe.

While rain from ongoing countywide storms was falling during both crashes, it’s unclear how much of a role it played in either crash. Latulippe said alcohol and/or drugs were not believed to be contributing factors.

The three left lanes of southbound Interstate 15 were closed until around 1:15 p.m., according to the CHP. Motorists were advised to slow down and move over whenever first responders were responding to accidents, Choi said.

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