Ramona Resident Dies in Crash on San Vicente Road, Second Fatal Crash in a Week

Kenneth Frederick Crane of Ramona is dead and a Lakeside teenager faces vehicular manslaughter charges after the fatal crash.


Originally posted Aug. 30 at 8:30 a.m.

A 19-year-old Lakeside man was behind bars today in connection with a head-on collision in Ramona that left a 74-year-old Ramona resident dead.

Garrett Sparks was arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter following the crash on San Vicente Road south of Warnock Drive about 7:40 p.m. Thursday, according to the California Highway Patrol .

Sparks told authorities he took his eyes off the road for at least 10 seconds while he was reaching for an item he dropped on the floorboard, CHP Officer Kevin Pearlstein said.

His southbound 2007 Ford Ranger drifted into oncoming traffic at about 50 mph and stuck a northbound 2000 Ford Ranger driven by Kenneth Frederick Crane of Ramona, according to the CHP.

Crane was pronounced dead at the scene from multiple blunt force injuries, according to the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office.

The suspect was uninjured, according to authorities.

Investigators determined alcohol was not a factor in the crash, according to Pearlstein.

Sparks was being held in the San Diego Central Jail in lieu of $50,000 bail, with arraignment scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, according to jail records.

NBC 7 aired video of a neighbor that saw the head on crash from his driveway, and said a vehicle rolled numerous times and the driver was pinned in the vehicle. He also told NBC 7 that he thought that San Vicente Road should be widened.

This was the second fatal crash on San Vicente Road in a week to take the life of a Ramona resident. Last Thursday Victoria Scott Richeson, 18, died west of Wildcat Canyon Road.

-City News Service contributed to this post

Stephen Kirk August 30, 2013 at 12:53 PM
My condolensences go out to the family of this elderly victim and the family of the young man. That being said, I would like to know just where NBC 7 gets it's facts when it reports things like, there could not be a more difficult angerous stretch of road to drive than this stretch of road at dusk and the majority want to straighten it to make it safer, the very few want to preserve the nature and the scenic drive. Like most of their reporting, they make quick and uninformed statements for ratings. People, including myself have been driving this stretch of road for years without incident. How about holding people accountable for their action when these crashes occur and stepping up law enforcement in the area. Again, I truly grieve for these victims and their families, but a road or tree never killed anyone.
Teal Turner Young August 30, 2013 at 12:56 PM
I have a sixteen year old with a learner's permit. Even though I paid for quality driver's instruction which amounts to an online course and six hours of behind the wheel with an instructor, now it is up to me to educate him further before he can get a license. He is risk adverse. He is an 4.17 GPA student. He pays attention. But while trying to figure out what to do yesterday on D Street when a lady opened her parked car door into his lane he put his foot on the accelerator instead of the brake. He missed her car, but went through a stop sign! So here is the BIGGEST problem on our roadways with young drivers. INEXPERIENCE AND NO EXTENDED STATE SUPPORTED DRIVER'S EDUCATION! When I was a kid, Driver's Ed was an elective we all took our Sophomore year. We drove simulators where all kinds of scenarios like what my son faced yesterday in my car could be EXPERIENCED SAFELY! Any extra state money that comes Ramona's way should be spent on sub-contracting a driver's ed elective program in our high schools. With computer programs and gaming type systems the simulator experience should be easy enough to replicate, and help save lives in the long run. Robert's professionally trained instructor knows a lot of teaching techniques that I don't, even though I am a safe and experienced driver. He could use her help double the time, and so could every young driver in Ramona.
Mary Bowen-Davis August 30, 2013 at 01:19 PM
I hate it when people talk about how awful some of the roads are when it isn't the roads at all but the people driving them. I drive Wildcat often and can't tell you how many times I've seen people pass just before a blind curve or want to pass me when I'm driving the speed limit. People driving too fast, not staying in their own lane and being easily distracted is the problem. Straighten the roads and people will still cross over the line and hit people head on. Period.
ELIJAH August 30, 2013 at 01:48 PM
The news intentionally stirs up controversy, for ratings down the road. Essentially they know the more of the population lives in the city. And they want to identify the smaller communities in a negative light because less people are affected. And smaller communities don't have as strong a voice to resist mis-characterization. So essentially there like a bully picking on the little guy. Although having two accidents on the same road within a week is alarming. No community needs to be characterized as irresponsible to provoke a response. It's not like we don't see members of our community being killed or injured on our roads. Give us a little credit. My condolences to the families in these tragic incidences. May God grant you peace in this difficult time.
DEBBIE SNAVELY August 30, 2013 at 03:15 PM
very sad to say the least. slow down, and DO NOT GET DISTRACTED!
Shellene Manning August 30, 2013 at 05:27 PM
This is very sad and tragic but widening and straightening the road is not the answer. I feel it will just make people go faster to not have as many turns. I drive this at least twice a day with my cruise set at the speed limit of 50 and have Peoria agitated at me for "going slow" daily. Education and more enforcement of the law is what is needed.
Shellene Manning August 30, 2013 at 05:28 PM
*people agitated. Sorry. Autocorrect.
Jane Tanaka MD August 30, 2013 at 06:02 PM
I dont think that Ramona should consider itself victimized by this news story. I think that 2 deaths very close together on a stretch of road, and close together timewise should be wakeup call. Yes, a wakeup call for us drivers to be vigilent, and not eat or drink while driving, not text while driving, not change the settings on the sound system when driving, not enter data on the gps while driving, not take curves faster because we are in a hurry,not speed no matter what, not pickup the books that flew off the car seat, not take off our shoes when driving, not sneeze while driving(one woman died on highway 67 because she had a sneezing attack several years ago) .But its also a wakeup call that this stretch of road is poorly engineered . Narrow rural roads that have more than 2000 vehicles traveled on it have far higher crash rates if they are 9 feet wide, compared to when they are 12 feet wide, no matter the speed limit. Road curves without adequate superelevation , or infact grading in the wrong direction, have much higher crash and collision rates also. Both need to be worked on. Its not an either or. No doubt that re-enginneering this road will be extremely inconvenient for all who travel it to go to work, school, and elsewhere, for many months. But if they leave the speed limits the same, and people improve driving habits , and we improve the roads, there is a chance that lives will be saved.
Glenn Younger August 30, 2013 at 09:22 PM
Sad. The common theme on this stretch of road (the last 4 fatalities at least) is young and less experienced drivers. All under 20. How do we get Drivers Ed training back? I'd like to see it widened, straitened and re-engineered with the added features of bike/ horse / walking path. Final thought, speed was not the cause of this or any of the other fatalities. Driving into another lane, or off the road, lead to each of them. How do we train our drivers better?
DK August 30, 2013 at 10:43 PM
Glenn, I heard that speed was a factor in last week's crash.
Brian Plumley August 31, 2013 at 12:01 AM
I know the deceased on a personal basis, Ramona and the world lost a great man and retired Soldier. God speed friend
ciocca1 August 31, 2013 at 12:07 AM
Wow taking your eyes off the road for 10 seconds. That scares the heck out of me. Often when I drive on the 67 I think about someone hitting me head on, it just seems too easy on some roads. Not necessarily because the roads are poorly engineered for people driving 55 on the 67 and 50 on San Vicente, but poorly engineered if the norm is 75 on 67 and 65 on San Vicente....which is what people are doing in 2013. Slow down and pay attention people! Road improvements will happen but it will take years...we all need to survive in the meantime.
Herve Auch-Roy August 31, 2013 at 10:46 AM
I am appalled to see how much pressure is being put on pushing the widening and straightening of that stretch of road (which will take a couple years to be completed), while nothing is being done that will for sure stop all of this drama right away. There is a sign below the 50MPH sign that says "RADAR ENFORCED", and yet, since we moved in the Estates three years ago, I have never seen one radar there, nor did I hear of anyone getting a ticket. Instead, the loudest voices trumpet that widening the road is THE solution, suggesting that people can keep speeding, text and drive, be on the phone and taking their eyes off the road. Since the road is at fault, why should we change anything at our driving habits? The 1,507 Estates residents who signed the petition to cancel the widening project (also labelled "The Group of Ramona Village Idiots"), wanted to send a message that widening the road will make matter worse BECAUSE NOTHING ELSE IS DONE NOR PLANNED TO ADDRESS THE REAL ISSUE; it will only encourage people to drive faster. I wonder why this is so hard to understand for the majority of people in Ramona; even us, the "Village Idiots", understood it right away.
Cindy Galloway August 31, 2013 at 11:14 AM
Widening and straightening this road will not prevent accidents due to excessive speed and taking ones eyes off the forward road for two seconds much less ten. 50 mph is too much speed, drive the suggested 35mph, it's a short stretch of road.
Sue Petrofsky August 31, 2013 at 12:44 PM
In reference to the "Enforced by radar" above - I've lived in Ramona 25 years and NEVER have seen anyone from law enforcement policing that stretch of road at any time. Maybe if they showed up once in a while to hand out tickets it would slow people down also. Condolences to Mr. Crane's family.
Brian August 31, 2013 at 02:13 PM
When the road is only 11 feet wide and there is no shoulder, where are the police cars supposed to park to use radar!? Not to mention there's no safe place to pull cars over on San Vicente Rd. at least along that stretch. Why does it take a $300 ticket to get people to slow down, put down their phones, and start paying attention to their driving?
Sue Petrofsky August 31, 2013 at 04:22 PM
There's plenty of space to pull them over between Ramona High School and Warnock or after the road becomes double-divided going into SDCE. They are still exceeding the speed limit in those areas and there is plenty of room to pull them over in either of those locations. I have never seen anyone do a radar trap near the school, and very seldom in the Estates, where people reguglarly do 65 mph in a 45 zone.
Joe Minervini August 31, 2013 at 05:37 PM
Its sad....not only for the man that is gone but for the kid who has to live with this. Young drivers, distracted drivers, cell phones, alcohol, speed, carelessness, etc. .......you combine all the above with curves in the road and you have accidents waiting to happen. Usually the accidents on San Vicente are single vehicle accidents, I think I think we can all agree that if the speed limit on San Vicente were 35 mph, the accident rate would decrease. Perhaps its time to consider some drastic measures. There is something I find odd about the young man being arrested....is there more to this story ?
ciocca1 September 01, 2013 at 09:53 AM
I agree that. Creating a "known" speed trap where there is a 50/50 chance a CHP is around the corner waiting to write you up would make people on average slow down.....it isn't going to happen. What are there stationed in Ramona? 5 or 6 CHP and Sheriff units combined? There is just not enough manpower to make a consistent presence. Once in a while when James Duke Elementary gets out I see a CHP pull a random person over for a 40 in a 25 school zone but that is about it. San Vicente is a free for all........as a matter of fact the other day I was behind a CHP on San Vicente and kept pace behind him.....at times even he hit 60 mph....no lights, no emergency.....must of been game time.
Jewels September 01, 2013 at 08:20 PM
Widening San Vicente will not stop the accidents. How soon we forget they did that with 67 and does it work???? Now they want to put in concrete barriers in the middle. And yes great idea, let's put a pedestrian walkway along San Vicente so the next kid who takes his eyes off the road can run over some kids walking home from school!!! I feel like we have the stupid people in charge of making decisions. We need to lower the speed limit and LEAVE the trees and curves in there. If it was 35 mph maybe we would have a chance to react to that driver. And for anyone who says there aren't pull outs.... you are driving with you eyes closed. No wonder we have so many accidents. I have used them when I have someone riding my bumper. There are two (dirt - one being the dog where all the signs are) going into town from the estates and one coming home (the street). Then there are some on the estate side of wild cat. I am beyond frustrated that our society never puts the blame on the person responsible but we want to blame curves and tress - that the rest us have all successfully navigated for years without incident. I haven't had a tree jump out in front of me, or ever seen it happen to anyone else! at what point is it enough???? Should we remove all curves from San Diego to Julian??? Or all the way to the Salton Sea??? People it isn't the curves or the trees! If you want to live in a concrete jungle you can move back to San Diego. I moved here because I love the country windy roads with oaks growing over the top.
Sue Petrofsky September 01, 2013 at 08:38 PM
Well said Julie!
Torry Brean September 01, 2013 at 09:32 PM
As far as lowering the speed limit goes, the Department of Transportation does not allow arbitrary speed limits to be set. Their exact wording is: "When a speed limit is to be posted, it shall be established at the nearest 10 km/h (5 mph) increment of the 85th-percentile speed of free-flowing traffic." This means that if traffic naturally flows at 55 MPH, you cannot drop the speed limit to 35 MPH. Considerations are given for things like school zones and residential areas, but I am sure that Sacramento would not allow a speed reduction on this strip of road. I not speaking in favor, or against this rule, I just wanted to share it with you all.
Herve Auch-Roy September 02, 2013 at 03:03 PM
ciocca1, while you mentioned a CHP vehicle at 60MPH on San Vicente Road, bear in mind that CHP officers are trained for high speed, and their vehicles are equipped with reinforced suspensions and shock absorbers to allow for high speed - otherwise, how could we expect them to catch-up on speeders? A CHP will comfortably zoom through this stretch of the San Vicente Road at speeds up to 70MPH, while neither of us, even experienced drivers like me with 37 years behind the wheel, would be able to. So, please don't blame CPHs for driving faster than the rest of us, because this is how they'll rid us of speeders and keep us safe.
Big bucks September 02, 2013 at 06:24 PM
To all you patchers that don't know but sparks is a well known heroin addict and frequent drinker in his community which is barona res. only god knows what was going on in his truck that night and blood test would tell what he was really on, maybe we will find out on wednesday.
dw September 02, 2013 at 08:53 PM
Well, that would explain the 50k bail.... What a loser hopefully, this will be one more of the streets.
Diana Levin September 03, 2013 at 01:01 PM
It is only when people realize that driving is a full time job that we will see a reduction in traffic collisions. The errant driver travelled 10 seconds without looking at the roadway. This means he traveled 750 feet - more than the length of two football fields. Imagine for a moment, driving 50 mph with your eyes closed for 10 seconds.


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