UPDATED: This story originally reported that one of the victims was an infant; the CHP said in an update on Monday, however, that the child was 4 years old — Ed.
A mother and her 4-year-old daughter were killed in a three-vehicle crash Sunday on Interstate 15 near Fallbrook, which CHP investigators say was caused by a drunk driver.
The 3:14 p.m. Sunday crash involved a black Toyota Tacoma pickup, white Tesla and a black Kia Forte on southbound I-15 south of State Route 76, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The driver of the pickup truck, identified as 23-year-old Erick Arambula from Oceanside, was headed north on Old Highway 395 when he went off the roadway, through a chain-link fence, landed upside-down on I-15 and crashed head-on with the Kia, killing Courteney Taylor, 29, and her daughter Amaya Taylor, 4.
An online fundraiser described Courteney as a “living angel” and Amaya as the family’s “guiding light.”
Courteney Taylor’s sister told NBC 7 that Courteney and Amaya spent their morning in Temecula having a pool day. She said Amaya, who loved being outside, “had”got to have one last day in the sun.”
Had Courteney made it home safe, she and her sister, Kelsi, were going to get their nails done while Amaya and her grandmother did an art project in the garage.
“I just want everyone to know that truly beautiful and sweet people exist because Courteney was one of them and she was raising Amaya to be one too,” Kelsi Taylor said. “People like Courteney make the world a worthwhile place to be. She just always wanted the best for everybody and to help. They both did. Amaya loved to help.”
Arambula was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries, according to the CHP. Arambula was believed to be under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash. He faces multiple charges, including felony DUI and gross vehicular manslaughter, CHP said.
Arambula’s truck also collided head-on with the Tesla, causing minor injuries to three passengers in that car, according to Capt. John Choi of the North County Fire Protection District.