A young woman who was among a group of San Diegans headed to the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival was killed when a car veered off of Interstate 10 in Banning and slammed into two trees, splitting the car in two, the California Highway Patrol reported Friday.
The 18-year-old woman died at the scene of the crash, which occurred at 4:15 a.m. Thursday on eastbound Interstate 10, west of Hargrave Street. The second passenger, 16-year-old Manuela Cerciello-Rahbari, was seriously injured, and the driver, 21-year-old Cesar Hernandez-Ozuna, was also hospitalized, according to CHP Officer Darren Meyer.
The three San Diego residents were in a white 2009 BMW 328i when the car, which was traveling “at a high rate of speed,” drifted off of the right side of the freeway, Meyer said.
The driver attempted to steer the BMW back onto the freeway, but the car went over an embankment and crashed into two trees, which “severed the vehicle into two pieces,” the officer said.
The 18-year-old woman, who was sitting in the back seat, was ejected from the BMW, he said. Her name had not been released as of Friday morning.
Cerciello-Rahbari was taken to Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs with “very serious, life-threatening injuries,” Meyer said. Hernandez-Ozuna was taken to the same hospital with a laceration to the left side of his face, the officer said.
Though the car was found “loaded with food, alcohol and camping gear,” CHP investigators don’t believe alcohol or drugs were contributing factors in the crash, he said.
>> Want to read more stories like this? Get our Free Daily Newsletters Here!Follow us: