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Driver in Calif. crash that killed 5 arrested

Associated Press / November 15, 2010

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SAN DIEGO — A man was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence after he slammed his car head-on into a group of motorcycle riders celebrating their club’s 10th anniversary, killing his companion and four motorcyclists, authorities said yesterday.

The driver, Carlos Ramirez Bobadilla, was among six who were injured in Saturday’s crash on a remote desert highway, said California Highway Patrol Officer DeeAnn Goudie. Ramirez, 36, was recovering from hand fractures at a San Diego hospital.

The arrest was made when officers smelled alcohol on his breath about five hours after the crash, Goudie said. Results of a blood test were pending.

It is unclear whether the driver’s alcohol consumption contributed to the collision, Goudie said, but he was arrested on a misdemeanor and is not being held responsible for the deaths based on evidence collected so far.

Authorities are looking for the driver of a gold Honda Civic who forced Ramirez off the road when trying to pass the motorcyclists on the undivided two-lane highway east of San Diego.

Ramirez, of Mexicali, Mexico, swerved his white Dodge Avenger to the right shoulder to avoid the Honda and then overcompensated by swinging left into oncoming traffic, Goudie said.

The CHP withheld the names of the five who died, pending notification of relatives. They included a husband and wife who were on a motorcycle that was first to be struck. A man who was driving a motorcycle behind the couple was struck next and died, Goudie said.

Ramirez turned and hit a third motorcycle, killing a woman who was riding on the back and injuring her husband, Wilson Trayer, 39, Goudie said.

Trayer’s motorcycle sliced 18 inches into the front passenger door of the Dodge that Ramirez was driving, killing Ramirez’s companion, Goudie said.

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