Updated with identies of the vicitms, provided by the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office
By Miriam Raftery
June 3, 2019 (Jamul) – The driver and a passenger in a 1997 green GMC Sonoma pickup truck are dead following a head-on collision with a Jeep at 11:45 p.m. last night on Lyons Valley Road in Jamul. The driver, Martin Lopez Soto, 19, from Lemon Grove and his passenger, Hope Najera, 18, from Jamul, died at the scene after the GMC crossed the center line into the path of the Jeep. According to their Facebook posts, the couple recently became engaged.
Witnesses called 9-1-1 but both victims were found inside the vehicle without a pulse by first responders who were unable to revive the teens despite aggressive life-saving efforts. The Medical Examiner concluded that both died of blunt-force injuries.
The driver of the Jeep, an 18-year-old El Cajon woman, had three teen passengers in the vehicle. All four sustained non-life-threatening injuries and were either treated on scene or transported to local hospitals for medical evaluations, according to the California Highway Patrol.
According to their Facebook pages, Soto had attended Mount Miguel High School and Lemon Grove Middle School. Najera lived in Jamul and had attended loal schools including Steele Canyon High and was a student at Cuyamaca College studying child development at the time of the accident. She worked at the YMCA in Rancho San Diego. She had attended a church service and a lunch with family prior to the accident, according to her family.
The possibility of alcohol and/or drug use was not ruled out as a contributing factor in the event, and is still being investigated, according to CHP Officer H. Curiel.
No other vehicles were believed to be involved. The collision is still under investigation.
Desheila Manuel, a teacher in Jamul, posted on Najera's obit at Legacy.com, "I will always remember that you always had a smile on your face. You were always so sweet and kind to everyone. Rest In Peace."