San Diego

Vigil Held for Victims of Fatal Crash in Chicano Park

Four people were killed and nine others injured when a truck plunged into a crowd on Saturday.

A candlelight vigil for the victims of a deadly crash in San Diego's Chicano Park and their families was held Sunday at 6:30 p.m.

According to NBC7, Reverend Shane Harris, Pastor Lonnie Lynch of the Revival Time Church in Chicano Park and other religious leaders held the vigil in the park, where a truck plunged more than 60 feet into a crowd on Saturday.

Four people were killed, while nine -- including the suspect driving the truck -- were injured.

The park, where La Raza Run motorcycle rally was held Saturday, now features a growing memorial of flowers and other types of tributes to the victims.

The truck driver, Richard Anthony Sepolio -- a 24-year-old, on-duty Navy serviceman stationed in Coronado -- was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, causing injury or death. He could face four counts of vehicular homicide, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Sepolio was taken to UC-San Diego Medical Center for treatment; his medical condition was unavailable today. Alcohol was involved in the crash, CHP spokesman Jake Sanchez said during a Saturday press conference.

"It's horrible," Sanchez said. "Innocent people were down here having a good time -- now, they're gone." 

Authorities identified the four deceased as 50-year-old AnnaMarie Contreras and 52-year-old Cruz Elias Contreras, both from Chandler, Arizona; and 46-year-old Francine Denise Jimenez and 49-year-old Andre Christopher Banks, both from Hacienda Heights. 

The GMC truck landed on its side on top of four people, said Chief Brian Fennessy of San Diego Fire-Rescue on Saturday.

People attending the festival were able to get the badly damaged truck upright, Capt. Chuck Kaye of the San Diego Police Department said.

Police officers gave medical aid to those crushed by the truck, "but to no avail," Kaye said.

Sepolio suffered major trauma and is being treated for his injuries at UC San Diego Medical Center, Sanchez said.

The injured victims were taken to either UC San Diego or Scripps Mercy hospitals for treatment, said Lee Swanson, spokesperson for San Diego Fire-Rescue Department. All the injured victims are adults, authorities said. Their conditions also were unavailable.

The crash was reported shortly after 3:30 p.m.

Sepolio -- said to have been alone in the pickup -- was going southbound on Interstate 5, heading for the Coronado Bridge when he failed to make the transition and crashed, Swanson said.

The crash caused so much chaos that both the Coronado and Harbor police departments were called in to help.

No police officers were pursuing Sepolio before he crashed, the CHP said.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer sent out a tweet Saturday, saying "praying for victims & families affected by tragedy in Chicano Park. Devastated this occurred in one of our community's most beloved places.''

Copyright CNS - City News Service
Contact Us