4 killed instantly, U.S. Navy member suspected of DUI after truck plunges off San Diego bridge

SAN DIEGO, Oct. 16 (UPI) — Four people were killed instantly and nine others injured when a pickup truck plunged off the San Diego-Coronado Bridge retaining wall and dropped 60 feet on to a vendor sales booth set up for a festival.

Two of the injured suffered major trauma, authorities said.

Richard Sepolio, 25, an active-duty U.S. Navy service member stationed in Coronado, was arrested and is facing charges of vehicular homicide and suspicion of driving under the influence, investigators said. After the plunge, Sepolio asked witnesses to call his commander at the nearby military base, the San Diego Union Tribune reported

Police said Sepolio was driving on the entrance ramp for the Coronado Bridge from northbound Interstate 5 around 3:30 p.m. when the truck hit the guardrail and went off the bridge, killing the four people in Chicano Park. The vendors in the park were part of the La Raza Run, a biker event that takes place annually. They were selling T-shirts at the event.

Sepolio was taken to an area hospital where he remains in critical condition, NBC 7SanDiego reported.

Those who died have not been identified by name, but the California Highway Patrol said they included a 62-year-old man and a 50-year-old woman, both from Chandler, Ariz., and a 59-year-old man and 49-year-old woman from Hacienda Heights.

Witnesses said the dead were motorcyclists involved in the festival.

La Puenta resident Iris Jimenez, 29, said she was friends with two of the victims and described them as “very nice people.”

Police and paramedics at the scene credited bystanders with flipping over the upside-down truck to assist victims, offering first aid. They also helped emergency crews close the roads beneath the bridge.

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