Wednesday’s UTC-area collisions kill one, injure five

From City News Service

Motorists running red lights Wednesday (Oct. 23) caused unrelated traffic accidents that killed one person and injured five others near Westfield UTC mall, tangling traffic in the busy area, police reported.

The more serious of the two wrecks occurred shortly before 10:30 a.m., when the driver of a westbound Toyota Prius, Soranun Booppanon, 39, of Rancho Penacquitos, failed to yield for a stoplight at Genesee Avenue and La Jolla Village Drive in University City, according to San Diego police.

The hybrid-electric car rammed into an Audi sedan and a Volkswagen Golf, driven by George Matteson, 77, of Pacific Beach, and then hit a Nissan truck before all four vehicles skidded to a halt across the traffic lanes.

Matteson died at the scene of the pileup despite medics’ attempts to resuscitate him. His female passenger suffered serious injuries, while Booppanon and passengers in the Audi had 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 accident occurred less than 90 minutes after a 63-year-old woman ran a red light 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 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.