A rural road set the scene for a tragedy, and a surprise arrest after responding officers discovered an alleged stolen vehicle.
The 7:40 a.m. Jan. 31 accident happened near the Elfin Forest Preserve, southeast of Escondido. It killed one and left four with minor injuries.
A 28-year-old Chula Vista man lost control of his Subaru WRX while allegedly speeding around a curve on Harmony Grove Road, according to news reports. The accident occurred west of Wild Hollow Road. The unidentified driver allegedly crossed into the path of oncoming traffic and hit a Toyota Prius on the left side. The vehicle then smashed head-on into a Toyota Highlander driven by Ardeshir Tooraji, 38, causing it to roll over. The Subaru driver died on the scene after being partially ejected.
An unidentified 49-year-old man from San Marcos drove the Prius and did not sustain injuries. Paramedics treated the Highlander occupants, Tooraji, a 26-year-old man and two women, 34 and 38, at the scene. They declined to go to area hospitals.
During the investigation, authorities discovered that the Highlander was a stolen vehicle. Authorities detained the four occupants but let all but the driver go. Law enforcement arrested Tooraji, a Carlsbad resident, on suspicion of multiple charges and took him to the Vista Detention Facility.
Authorities closed Harmony Grove in both directions until 3:30 p.m.
Speed may have been a factor in the crash, reports state. It’s also unclear if drugs or alcohol played a part in the crash.