SAN DIEGO – Flanked by law enforcement officials and community activists, a state senator vowed Tuesday to make improving safety on the Coronado Bridge a top priority in the wake of a suspected DUI crash that killed four people last weekend.
“We’re all still in shock over the events of this past Saturday,” Sen. Ben Hueso said at Chicano Park, where a pickup truck landed amid attendees of a popular motorcycle rally after vaulting off the landmark span over San Diego Harbor.
Hueso, D-San Diego, told reporters he and other local leaders intended to “ask for answers and look for solutions” to prevent a similar tragedy from ever occurring again.
The late-afternoon crash occurred when a Coronado-based Navy petty officer lost control of his GMC pickup while trying to merge from northbound Interstate 5 onto the bay bridge, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The vehicle plunged about 60 feet into the crowded park below, fatally injuring Annamarie Contreras, 50, and Cruz Contreras, 52, a married couple from Chandler, Arizona, along with Hacienda Heights residents Andre Banks, 49, and Francine Jimenez, 45. All four were pronounced dead at the scene.
Nine others, including the driver of the truck, were hospitalized for treatment of various non-life-threatening injuries.
The motorist, 24-year-old Richard Anthony Sepolio, is expected to be arraigned Wednesday on charges of felony driving while intoxicated and vehicular manslaughter.
Sepolio, an aviation electronics technician, has been assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 6 at Naval Air Station North Island since September 2015, a year after he enlisted, according to the Navy.