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Fatal crash on SR-125 was teen driver’s second collision that morning

September 22, 2009 – The teenage driver involved in a fatal accident at the intersection of Mission Gorge Road and SR-125 in Santee early Sunday morning had minutes earlier been involved in a hit-and-run collision in La Mesa, La Mesa police said Tuesday.

The 17-year-old was driving a black Ford Ranger on Parks Avenue south of El Cajon Boulevard just before 6:30 a.m. when she rear-ended a woman who had just pulled out of a driveway, La Mesa Lt. David Bond said.

Taya Chase, a 21-year-old San Diego State University student, said she had just gotten home and was pulling her Chevrolet Cavalier out of the driveway to find a place to park on the street.

She said she looked to the left and saw headlights “way off in the distance” and proceeded to head north at about 5 mph when the truck smashed into her.

The Cavalier was forced off the road and onto the sidewalk, where it crashed into three utility boxes, causing a power outage in the neighborhood. The car then slammed through a fence and ended up back on the road.

“I was in shock,” Chase said. She said the truck just “plowed right through” her and appeared to be going about 70 mph.

Chase followed the truck a short distance to El Cajon Boulevard, where it stopped in the middle of the intersection.

Chase said she pulled up alongside the driver and took what she described as “one scary glimpse of her face.”  “She looked right through me,” Chase said. “It was terrifying.”

The girl had light brown hair and looked pale.

Then the teen threw the truck into reverse, turned and sped off eastbound, getting onto Interstate 8, Chase said.

Chase memorized the license plate of the truck and called 911.

Another driver who saw the hit-and-run followed the speeding truck onto I-8 and north on state Route 125, where he witnessed the fatal collision, Chase said. The man returned to La Mesa and told Chase what he had seen.

Police were searching the area for the truck when they heard about the fatal crash at the intersection of Mission Gorge Road and SR-125 in Santee, Lt. Bond said. That crash happened about 6:35 a.m., officials with the Sheriff’s Department said.

Just before 7 a.m., La Mesa police confirmed that the license plate of the truck involved in the hit-and-run matched the one in the crumpled wreckage at the intersection in Santee.

Pamela Sue Marabeas, 53, of Santee was killed when her Ford Explorer was broadsided by the truck, which came off the freeway at a high speed, sheriff’s officials said. The impact pushed both vehicles across all westbound lanes of traffic and over the curb onto the dirt, where the truck ended up on its side with the SUV on top of it.

Marabeas was pronounced dead at the scene. She worked as a radiology technician for Scripps Mercy Hospital in Chula Vista and was on her way to work, officials said.

The teenager was taken to a hospital in critical condition. Her name has not been released.

Authorities are investigating the cause of the crash. They said the teenager may have run a red light. There was also heavy fog in the area at the time of the collision, officials said.

The intersection was shut down for several hours as authorities investigated and the destroyed vehicles were removed.

Chase said that if she had pulled out of the driveway a second later, she thinks she would have been broadsided. She had pain in her back and neck and underwent tests at the hospital after the accident, she said. Her car was totaled.

“I feel really lucky and very sad for the other family,” Chase said.

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