March 1, 2010 – A San Diego County Sheriff’s Deputy trying to catch up to a wrong-way driver on a freeway was killed when his marked SUV rolled several times down a ravine on SR-52, Sheriff William Gore said Sunday.
Deputy Ken Collier, 39, died at a hospital shortly after the 3:22 a.m. wreck on the freeway in the mountains between Santee and Tierrasanta, the sheriff announced. A 25-year-old sheriff’s dispatcher who was also in the county SUV, Ryan DeBellis, was injured, the sheriff said.
An allegedly drunken driver who was the subject of the chase was caught nearby. Jose Jasso Lopez, 22, will be charged with vehicular manslaughter and drunken driving, Gore said.
“(Collier) was trying to prevent a serious collision but became involved in a serious collision himself,” said CHP officer Brian Pennings.
The deputy and dispatcher were heading west on SR-52 from Santee, when they spotted a wrong-way driver coming at them, and reported the incident to his dispatcher, Pennings said.
The deputy turned around and radioed dispatch that he was trying to overtake the driver. His Ford Expedition, traveling on the paved portion of the center median, collided with a bridge abutment, went over the lip of a steep ravine that is bridged by the freeway, and rolled several times, Pennings said.
Witnesses at the crash scene reported that it was foggy with wet roads at the time.
The Expedition caught fire after impact, Pennings said.
According to Gore, Collier somehow ended up away from his crashed vehicle. DeBellis, who “amazingly” only suffered serious bruises, extricated himself, the sheriff said.
“Deputy Collier was able to radio dispatch about the accident,” touching off a very difficult rescue operation, Gore said.
Collier died after he was flown to a hospital.
Find more like this: Motor Vehicle Accidents, Personal Injury, Recent News, SUV Rollovers, The Gomez Law Firm, Wrongful Death , accident, allegedly drunken driver, Brian Pennings, california highway patrol, CHP, collision, crash, crashed vehicle, death, Deputy Ken Collier, Diego County Sheriff's Deputy, driver, drunken driving, fire, foggy, Ford Expedition, freeway, hospital, injured, investigation, Jose Jasso Lopez, killed, overtake the driver, paved portion of the center median, radio dispatch, rollover, Ryan DeBellis, san diego county sheriff's office, santee, serious, serious bruises, Sheriff William Gore, sheriff's dispatcher, suv, tierrasanta, vehicular manslaughter, very difficult rescue operation, wet roads, wrong-way driver, Wrongful Death