Three people, including two San Diego police detectives, were killed Friday in a fiery head-on collision caused by a speeding motorist heading the wrong way on Interstate 5 near the U.S.-Mexico border, authorities reported.
The errant driver’s Honda Civic reportedly was traveling as fast as 90 mph to the north on the southbound side of the freeway before it smashed into an oncoming Ford sedan occupied by the SDPD personnel near Dairy Mart Road in San Ysidro shortly before 10:30 a.m., according to the California Highway Patrol.
Following the crash, the Honda began burning, the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department reported. The woman behind the wheel of that vehicle and the two officers in the Ford — a married couple — died at the scene, according to the CHP.
The occupants of the Ford were identified as San Diego Police Department Detectives Ryan Park and Jamie Huntley-Park.
Park and Huntley-Park married in 2016 after having met at the SDPD police academy in April 2012, said SDPD Chief David Nisleit. The rose to the rank of detective together in July 2018.
Park and Huntley Park were not scheduled to work Friday, but were following up on cases they were working on at the time of the crash.
“You couldn’t have met two nicer kids,” Nisleit said. “Both their lives and their careers were definitely on a very, very rapid trend upwards.”
“We are one huge family here in the city of San Diego, and so when the San Diego Police Department loses two members, it hurts,” Nisleit added. “It hurts the department, it hurts this city.”
The name of the woman driving the Honda was not released.
The vehicle the officers were in was city-owned but not a marked police car, spokesman Jose Ysea said.
Authorities shut down the entire southbound side of the interstate at state Route 905 due to the accident. The closure, which was ongoing in the midafternoon, was expected to remain in effect “for an extended period of time,” Caltrans advised.
In a statement, Mayor Todd Gloria said: “It is with heavy hearts that we mourn our two San Diego Police Department officers whose lives were tragically taken this morning. In the coming days, we will learn more about these public servants who proudly donned the badge to keep all of us safe and we will honor them for their service. I ask San Diegans to keep the officers and their families in your prayers.”
Updated at 2:33 p.m. and 10:20 p.m. June 4, 2021