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Freeway Sign Dedicated in Memory of Woman Killed in Route 125 Crash

The Sheriff's Department warns about DUI dangers at a dedication ceremony for a new freeway sign in memory of Pamela Sue Marabeas.

On Sept. 20, 2009, a 17‐year‐old girl decided to get behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated on alcohol and drugs. As she left a party in La Mesa, she struck a car, injuring that driver. The teen then left the scene of the crash and drove to Santee. When she came off SR‐125 at more than 70 miles per hour, she struck the SUV of Pamela Sue Marabeas on Mission Gorge Road.

Thursday morning the Sheriff's Department held a dedication ceremony for a new freeway sign in memory of Marabeas. Watch the attached video for statements at the dedication from Erin Limonchi, daughter of Marabeas, and Sgt. Scott Hill of the Santee Sheriff's Station.

Between 2006 and 2012 there have been 61 traffic collisions at the intersection of Mission Gorge Road and SR-125, 14 caused by a DUI driver, 16 caused by speeding, and three deadly, according to the Sheriff's Department. Of the three deadly crashes, two were caused by DUI, one by a floor mat stuck on the accelerator.

The most recent crash at the intersection occurred over New Year's weekend and involved a 21-year-old Orange County man accused of driving drunk and crashing into a San Diego police car, seriously injuring a rookie officer. The suspect has plead not guilty.

The mangled SUV that Marabeas was driving was on scene of the sign dedication and is used in Sheriff's Start Smart classes as a visual reminder of the deadly consequences of drunk driving. Since June 2010, free Start Smartclasses have been regularly offered to new drivers and their parents/guardians so they clearly understand their responsibilities when a teen starts to drive. The class also clarifies the restrictions of a provisional license and social host rules in the county.

At the January 9 meeting of the Santee City council Deputy City Manager Pedro Orso-Delgado said that city staff were setting up meetings with Caltrans to discuss ideas to make the intersection safer for motorists.

The Sheriff Department said they will have extra DUI patrols out in force this Super Bowl weekend.

—A Sheriff's Department press release contributed to this post

Kathy February 01, 2013 at 03:24 AM
We need to have the 4 lanes ending at Mission Gorge, into 2 lanes and have the speed reduced from the 52 split, down to 35 mph. Perhaps we could have a 5 to 10 second pause between red light in one direction to the green light in the other direction. I know that this will probably not help with the Idiot drunk drivers but it might help with all of the other situations. We MUST have stronger penalties for Drunk Drivers, obviously our current penalty system for DUI are not a strong enough deterrent. I say first offense, lose your license for 5 years, Second Offense, lose your license permanently and any type of injury accident resulting in a death, life in prison.
Diana Ballein February 01, 2013 at 09:06 PM
As tragic as it is, I saw quite a few people almost rear-end each other at that very intersection yesterday morning trying to catch a look at her damaged car and all of the news crews. So what's going to be done? Who is implementing a plan? Who is going to clean the broken wooden barrier at the end of the freeway? Lots of talking going on. We would all like to see some action.

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