Teen Pickup Truck Driver Crashes, 1 Riding in Truck Bed Dies

A pickup truck containing seven teenagers took a turn too fast and crashed in San Pasqual Valley early Saturday morning, killing one and injuring several more, the California Highway Patrol said. The CHP received reports of an overturned pickup truck on Summit Drive and Old Pasqual Road around 2:35 a.m. early Saturday morning. The 18-year-old driver of the 2001 Toyota Tundra was driving northbound on Summit Drive, attempting a left turn onto Old Pasqual Road, the CHP said.

Driving too fast for the curvature of the road, the driver lost control of the vehicle and ran off the road, according to the CHP. One Escondido teen was in the passenger seat and five others were riding in the bed of the truck. All five in the truck bed were thrown onto the road during the crash.

One of those five, an 18-year-old from Escondido, suffered major injuries and died Saturday at Palomar Medical Center, the CHP said. The victim has been identified as Jonah Staebell, 18, confirmed family representative and pastor Greg Lane with the Emmanuel Faith Community Church. Hundreds gathered at the church for a prayer vigil Saturday night.

“Jonah was a delightful young man — a sense of humor, fun athlete,” Lane said. “We loved that boy and we loved his family, and we go with them in the loss.” Staebell was a senior at Classical Academy High School, a charter school in Escondido, where he played varsity football and lacrosse. The remaining four in the bed of the truck suffered moderate to major injuries and were also taken to Palomar Medical Center: one 17-year-old from Escondido, one 17-year-old from Encinitas, one 17-year-old from San Marcos, and one 18-year-old from Valley Center, the CHP said.

The driver of the Toyota pickup truck sustained minor injuries, the CHP said. Two of the six remaining teens remained in the hospital on Saturday night. The driver was not under the influence of alcohol and/or drug impairment, investigators found.

The incident remains under investigation, the CHP said.

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