Driver falls asleep and crashes into tree near Paso Robles, killing passenger

A driver fell asleep at the wheel and crashed a car into a tree early Friday near Paso Robles, killing a passenger, according to the CHP.

Reyna Michelle Ochoa, 23, of San Miguel was driving her 2015 Toyota Camry west on Estrella Road near Martingale Circle about 3:20 a.m., according to a news release from the CHP Templeton Office.

Ochoa said she fell asleep at the wheel, causing her car to drift off the road and crash into an oak tree, according to the news release.

At about 4:59 a.m., a passerby noticed the vehicle had crashed into a the tree with its air bags deployed and called 911. The passerby was not at the scene when emergency personnel arrived.

The passenger, 28-year-old Mykel Romo of Santa Margarita, was not wearing his seatbelt at the time of the crash and sustained fatal injuries, according to the news release. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Ochoa, who was wearing her seatbelt, sustained major injuries and was transported by ambulance to Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo for treatment.

She was not found to have been under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the crash. The CHP’s investigation into the crash remains ongoing.

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Lindsey Holden writes about housing, North County communities and everything in between for The Tribune in San Luis Obispo. She became a staff writer in 2016 after working for the Rockford Register Star in Illinois. Lindsey is a native Californian raised in the Midwest and earned degrees from DePaul and Northwestern universities.