Unrelated traffic accidents killed one person and injured five others near Westfield UTC mall Wednesday, leaving a motorist under arrest and tangling midday traffic in the busy area for hours.
The more serious of the two wrecks occurred shortly before 10:30 a.m., when Soranun Booppanon, 39, allegedly ran a red light at Genesee Avenue while she was heading west on La Jolla Village Drive in University City, according to San Diego police.
Booppanon's Toyota Prius rammed into an Audi sedan and a Volkswagen Golf, then hit a Nissan truck before all four vehicles skidded to a halt across the traffic lanes.
The driver of the Volkswagen died at the scene of the pileup despite medics' attempts to resuscitate him. His female passenger suffered serious injuries, while Booppanon and the motorist in the Audi sustained minor injuries, SDPD Officer Frank Cali said. The driver of the pickup was unhurt.
Booppanon was arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter and driving while intoxicated, Lt. Kevin Mayer said. Investigators believe that the Rancho Penasquitos resident was under the influence of some type of drug at the time of the crash, according to Mayer.
The fatal accident occurred less than 90 minutes after another motorist failed to yield for a stoplight on Genesee Avenue near Interstate 5, crashing her southbound 1990 Toyota Corolla into a 2011 GMC exiting a driveway at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla, police reported.
The collision left the 63-year-old driver of the Toyota with serious leg trauma and the 41-year-old woman behind the wheel of the other car with superficial injuries, Sgt. Ray Battrick said.
Officers closed traffic lanes and issued a congestion alert for both locations while emergency crews tended to the injured and investigators documented evidence.
—City News Service