Passenger killed in drunk-driving accident on Rice Canyon Road; driver likely to face charges

A man who was riding as a passenger in a vehicle was fatally injured in an accident over the weekend on Rice Canyon Road in Fallbrook.

According to California Highway Patrol public information officer Jim Bettencourt, sometime either Sat., Nov. 16 or early Sun., Nov. 17, Gregorio Ruiz, 46, of Rainbow was driving a 1989 Toyota pickup northbound on Rice Canyon Road at an unknown speed when, for unknown reasons, the Toyota left the roadway and rolled down a dirt hill. The vehicle rolled over onto its roof and ended up at the bottom of an embankment that borders the west edge of the roadway.

“CHP dispatch received the call of a vehicle over the side at 7:34 a.m. on Sun., Nov. 17,” said Bettencourt. “Upon arrival, medical personnel located the driver (Ruiz) pinned within the overturned vehicle and the unrestrained right front passenger, a male Hispanic, age 52, also of Rainbow, was found deceased inside the cab of the truck.”

Bettencourt said Ruiz was transported to Palomar Hospital and is being treated for his injuries.

“Alcohol is a suspected factor in the collision and Ruiz will be facing charges in the death of his passenger,” said Bettencourt. “Rice Canyon Road was closed for approximately 5 hours to investigate the collision and retrieve the vehicle from the embankment.”

The identity of the man that was killed is being withheld pending notification of next of kin from the San Diego County Medical Examiners Office.

Bettencourt said the collision remains under investigation.

32 Responses to "Passenger killed in drunk-driving accident on Rice Canyon Road; driver likely to face charges"

  1. Lee   November 18, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    How much longer are we, society, going to accept drunk driving? How long? How many MORE innocent people have to die at the hands of drunk drivers? How many? One? Two? Twenty? A thousand? Five million? How many? When are we FINALLY going to say, "Enough is enough!" When?

    Here’s my definition of "Enough is enough!"

    (A) ZERO POINT ZERO alcohol level while operating a motorized vehicle! Period! ZERO POINT ZERO!!!!
    (B) First time offense (being caught driving intoxicated): automatic two-year suspension of driver’s license. (Two-year period cannot be reduced for ANY reason!) $50k fine PLUS all the lawyers fees, classes, etc. Six month prison term which, again, CANNOT be reduced for any reason. Period!
    (C) Second time offense: Permanent loss of driver’s license for life. (Individual CANNOT be issued another driver’s license in another state.) Two year prison sentence which, again, cannot be reduced for ANY reason. Period! (Actually, I wouldn’t mind swapping B for C: why should a person get a second chance? Why? The heck with that!)
    (D) ALL new cars/trucks to be equipped with MANDATORY alcohol-level checking mechanisms before the driver is able to start the car. Sure, this will add to the price of a new car, but this is WELL worth it! No, this does not inflict upon your rights. Stop it with the nonsense, please.

    Enough is enough! WE, THE INNOCENT PEOPLE have rights, too . . . and that is a right to live. I believe in life before death. Call me crazy.

  2. john f   November 18, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    Hey Lee! Enough is enough of laws. No amount nor scope of laws will stop people from doing wrong. If laws reduced bad behavior, then the tens of thousands of city, county, state and national laws would have stopped bad behavior. But you believe that even more laws and restrictions on freedom will finally stop bad behavior. Never going to happen.

  3. Dan   November 18, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    CRAZY !!

  4. Ray (the real one)   November 18, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    Too Much Cerveza….. Si.

  5. brenda leal   November 18, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    if ur not going to comment anything nice DO NOT COMMENT AT ALL!!! my prayers go out to the hernandez family including my dad as family member …

  6. Darlene   November 18, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    I’m with John. They need to up the alcohol levels and then sock it to offenders. A few people do bad and the rest of the people suffer. That’s what this country does, They take a problem we have and go to the other end of the spectrum so that we have still have a problem only now it’s a bigger problem. Why can’t we find a happy medium? The law doesn’t really want the problem solved they just want the revenue. They make laws so that they can collect more revenue. It has always been illegal for a bar to supply a ride home. You have to have a taxi or chauffeurs license. If they really wanted people to be safe they wouldn’t make so hard for people to be legal.

  7. veronica   November 18, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    All these people commenting stupid stuff need to stfu thanks for all your prayers and RIP to my uncle which was in THIS accident and was the one who passed on!! :'(

  8. not the first time   November 18, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    I know there has been other accidents in that same place, that road needs to be fixed, those curves are dangerous even when sober people are driving.

  9. grunt   November 18, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    Darlene – do you really think that the "revenue" from the fines equales the cost of cops, tests, and imprisonment?

  10. Ray (the real one)   November 18, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    Brenda: Are you related to the perp? no sympathy here only to the ones he injured or killed.

  11. Kevin   November 18, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    Also the fact that the deadman’s curve which it’s call on the corner of Rice Canyon, the curve needs to be looked at by the county, its a dangerous curve which weekly someone is having a head on or going off the cliff. Everyone that travels that road has to creep around the curve hoping not to hit a vehicle.

  12. Lee   November 18, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    @ #2 john f

    You can fool some of the people some of the time but you cannot fool all the people all the time.

  13. Random person   November 18, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    They both knew what could happen when they took off. Rest In Piece. I hope nobody presses charges. One life was lost, why ruin the other one.

  14. Random person   November 18, 2013 at 10:28 pm


  15. Vicki Hernandez   November 18, 2013 at 11:01 pm

    The man that was killed in this accident was my husbands uncle people should have respect for the family…. my deepest condolence to the Hernandez family my prayers are with every single one of you

  16. Concerned   November 19, 2013 at 7:18 am

    One of this countries main problems is that we let the drunk out again too soon. We need to monitor them with a breathalizer(sp) after the first offense. The government already has over crowded jails and is letting alot of the inmates out early, including the drunks. There have been alot of drunks arrested for driving on a suspended license, so taking away their license forever will not work. Monitoring and education maybe the only way to have any kind of effect.

  17. grunt   November 19, 2013 at 7:57 am

    @Random person – charges should be pressed if the driver was drunk – HE and the drinking are the reason a life was lost; his life should be ruined. Lee is close to being right – too many people have multiple drunk driving convictions. The Japanese have a good system – once convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) (which is different than Drunk driving – .02, I think, vice their .06) you get a lighted license plate; that plate allows the police to stop you anytime, anywhere for a sobriety test. As driving is a privilege not a right, it is not a violation of rights. A conviction of even a DUI while driving with a lite plate results in hard time in prison, loss of vehicle and driving privileges.

  18. Rainbow resident   November 19, 2013 at 8:29 am

    Everybody that drives that road, including the county knows that turn is dangerous. They surveyed it four years ago to get it realigned. I don’t know what the holdup is but I suspect it will be a very expensive fix. I’m sure Mr. Ruiz was well aware it is a dangerous turn too. The school bus has to use both lanes to make that turn. Very dangerous situation. That bus should not be using that road at all. The only people with an excuse for not slowing way down and honking their horn are people that are driving it for the first time. They should put a big mirror and a yield sign there. That won’t help in this type of case, but it will help a first timer for sure.

    The other issue is people coming down from Rainbow Heights Rd turning left on to Rice Canyon Rd think they have the right of way. They do not. The right of way is for traffic coming off eight street going South on Rice Canyon Rd. This intersection traffic control is the worse I have ever seen in all of San Diego County. The guy that came up with it should be demoted.

  19. Karla   November 19, 2013 at 9:08 am

    I was on the scene watching as the family was suffering and traumatized. My heart was broke for them and I wanted to console them all with my deepest condolences. I was shocked how rude the respondents (Sheriffs) were to the family. This family to my knowledge had been out searching and found them, this is something nobody should have to experience. I lost a brother in the same manner, I knew exactly what they were feeling. Sure wish people could be more supporting to the family in need right now. They need support and prayers. I pray God will give them the strength to help in their healing process. God Bless you all.

  20. @Vicki   November 19, 2013 at 9:49 am

    Sorry for the loss – VN bloggers are not disrespecting the dead, we are just so sick and tired of drunk drivers killing others/self-whether they are in the vehicle or other innocent people driving at the same place at meeting at the same time.

    Yes – that road is hellacious – Deadman’s curve is not called that for no reason. Since these are locals – they would know how bad it is and how slow they should go, but mentally impaired by substance? Get off the road. PERIOD. It could have been me, sober, coming back from a concert.

  21. not good   November 19, 2013 at 11:44 am

    hate to sound cold, but…. these se

  22. John F   November 19, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    Politicains fooled you, Lee. Laws are just words on paper and protect no one. Have you read all the county, state and national laws, rules, codes, regulations, statutes,…? No. No one has because it is impossible. So common sense, personal responsibility and the Golden Rule must prevail. The assumption that bad behavior occurs only because there was no law banning it is baseless. How many laws did G. Ruiz already violate? Would a few more laws have stopped him? Do laws matter to you when you are drunk?

  23. Lee   November 19, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    @ #17 Grunt

    Thank you.

    @ #21 John F

    You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.

  24. Psycho   November 19, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    When I was a kid living near there we used to call it "Horn Corner" because people used to slow down and honk their horn before proceeding around the corner. There also used to be a mirror installed. There are very simple fixes that could be made to improve safety on that corner other than re-doing the entire road. Signs, rumble strips, speed bumps all come to mind. New laws are not needed. By the way, the natural blood alcohol level of the average human is 0.03.
    It is an interesting coincidence that the Rice fire started started on that same corner!

  25. Melissa trejo   November 19, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    If you people are going to post a comment you better put something nice that’s my uncle that die

  26. Jackie   November 19, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    These men, who apparently lived in Rainbow, right down the road, should have been well aware that that particular spot was called Dead Mans Curve. The place where they live is always having loud, drunken parties which these gentleman supposedly came from. If the passenger and driver both got into that vehicle of their own accord, they knew that possibly the consequences could be bad or deadly. That being said, people drive over embankments on straight a ways and in every condition. The road is not responsible the driver is! Are we to pay to repair every road that idiots drive on? Never happen! Every road and every car always has the chance for an accident even under the best of conditions these gentlemen apparently didn’t have the best of conditions going for them. Shame, but God takes everyone when it is time, may the deceased rest in peace!

  27. Scorpio   November 20, 2013 at 10:58 am

    I apologize for the family’s loss. I am unable to understand what you may be going through. However, my suggestion is to put pressure on the churches and get them to begin speaking about issues of the day instead of going through the Bible book by book. The reason for that is because our politicians are corrupt and often involved with situations like this or some other significant moral flaw and are less likely to do anything. The churches help influence the rest of the population.
    Lee, Zero.Zero was already tried and prohibition was a complete failure. Even Jesus turned water into wine. The problem is that the churches aren’t being ran as God had intended them to be. They have been doing it for so long that it seems to be the only way that they know how to preach. Place the responsibility in their hands where it belongs. Encourage them to preach about issues and support them when they do.

  28. Leo   November 21, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    We could spend endless dollars realigning every public roadway in this country, it still wouldn’t stop drunk drivers from killing themselves or other innocent people. Since it was brought up here, my suggestion is also to stay away from religious mythology, Christian and otherwise. The root of corruption is putting one’s faith in magic, make believe, bible and other such fables and the worship of dead guys.

  29. Lee   November 21, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    @ #27 Scorpio

    Lord almighty!

  30. grunt   November 22, 2013 at 8:30 am

    @ Scorpio – I agree we need to return to the churches; and some churches may not be run as God intended, but many are. I suggest you "shop" Fallbrook and you will find a church that is doing God’s will.

  31. Sigh   November 24, 2013 at 10:49 am

    Drink, Drive, Dead……

  32. DANIEL SANCHEZ   December 4, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    well i hope silvestre’s family resignation will come soon my prayers are with them silvestre and i use to work together a long time ago i was surprised to find this article in the internet im living now in dalton ga, but me and silvestre are from two neighboring villages in queretaro mex will may he rest in peace.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.