A mother and son died within hours of each other Saturday and Sunday in two separate traffic incidents in northern San Luis Obispo County, according to local residents who know the family.
Donna Dean Magee, 56, of Templeton died Saturday afternoon after the truck she was driving left the roadway on Highway 58 in Creston and landed at least 25 feet away in a dry creek bed.
About 16 hours later, Zackariah Lopez, 35, of Atascadero, identified as Magee’s son, was involved in a fatal solo motorcycle accident in Atascadero.
A passenger in the Creston accident remained in the hospital Monday in serious condition.
Law enforcement agencies have not confirmed the relationship between the deceased motorists, but county residents who identified themselves as friends and family members expressed their condolences on social media Monday.
The CHP’s initial investigation revealed that Magee was driving a 1997 Toyota Tacoma east on Highway 58 west of O’Donovan Road in Creston on Saturday afternoon.
For reasons that were still unknown Monday, Magee failed to negotiate a slight left curve for eastbound traffic and drove the truck off the south pavement edge of the highway.
A CHP spokesman said Monday that it was still unclear if the vehicle rolled down an embankment before it came to rest on its passenger side in a dry creek bed about 25 feet below the level of the roadway.
Neither Magee nor her passenger, 44-year-old Paso Robles resident Jennifer June Molina, were wearing seatbelts, according to the CHP.
The truck was not visible in the creek bed from the highway, and there were no witnesses to the crash. The CHP spokesman said Monday morning that investigators were still trying to establish a timeline of events, but it is believed one of the two women was able to use a cellphone to call 911.
Magee and Molina were both taken to Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo, where Magee was pronounced dead at 4 p.m. Saturday from injuries suffered in the crash, according to hospital spokesman Ron Yukelson.
Yukelson said that Molina was admitted to the hospital’s intensive care unit with serious injuries, where she remained in serious condition Monday afternoon.
According to Tribune archives, Magee was a manager at Margarita Mercantile Co., a grocery and deli in Santa Margarita. An employee at the business confirmed that Magee had worked at the store for about two years, but declined to comment further.
Magee’s Facebook page lists her as a graduate of Atascadero High School and her city of residence as Paso Robles.
Numerous requests for information to her employer and friends on social media were not returned Monday.
However, the Margarita Mercantile Co. employee, and an employee and patrons at the nearby Santa Margarita Tavern, said Magee’s son also died in a crash over the weekend. All declined to be identified.
At about 4:50 a.m. Sunday, the Atascadero police and fire departments received calls from a motorist reporting a motorcycle crash in the 6800 block of Sycamore Avenue.
When they arrived, officers found the motorcyclist, identified as Lopez, lying off the roadway near the downed motorcycle.
Officers determined Lopez had died from injuries he suffered in the wreck. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police said Monday that no other vehicles were involved in the crash.
According to a Web page created Sunday on the fundraising site gofundme.com, Lopez leaves behind a wife and three children. The site says Lopez was a father to a newborn baby boy.
As of Monday evening, the site had raised $4,000 of a stated $10,000 goal to help with expenses.
The site can be accessed at www.gofundme.com/t3unuk3u.
The Atascadero Police Department and the CHP said investigations into both crashes are ongoing. It’s unknown if drugs or alcohol played a role in either incident, or how whether excessive speed was involved, law enforcement officials said.