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Teen driver who died was not wearing seat-belt


East County News Service


Updated March 3, 2023 with identity of the victim.


March 2, 2023 (La Mesa) – An 18-year-old El Cajon man, Eugene Nelson,has died after he lost control on I-8 west and struck a California Highway Patrol vehicle that had stopped to investigate a pair of unrelated solo-vehicle accidents on Feb. 25.


According to Officer Jared Grieshaber, the vehicles involved in those two accidents were blocking the center divider and the #1 lane of traffic. “The CHP officer on scene parked his patrol vehicle with the emergency lights activated, within the #1 lane, and partially within the center divider for scene safety,” Officer Grieshaber said.


Around 11:47 a.m., the teen driving a Nissan Sentra was “approaching the crash scene at an unsafe speed for the wet and rainy roadway conditions. Due to the unsafe speed for roadway conditions, the driver of the Nissan lost control and struck the rear of the unoccupied CHP patrol vehicle. The patrol vehicle was forced forward, struck one of the previously crashed vehicles, and that previously crashed vehicle was forced forward into the other previously crashed vehicle.”


The driver of the Nissan sustained major injuries and was transported to Sharp Memorial Hospital.  Two days later, on Feb. 27, he succumbed to his injuries sustained as a result of the crash.  


No other parties were injured as a result of the crash.  


The teen who died was not wearing a seatbelt and it is unknown at this time if alcohol and/or drugs were a factor in this crash, Officer Grieshaber said.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Agency estimates that seat belts save 15,000 lives a year, on average, and reduce the chances of dying in a vehicle crash by 50% if you’re in the front seat. Please remind your loved ones to buckle up, and to slow down when driving in inclement weather.


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