Crime

Teen driver crashes car after being assaulted by passenger, CHP says

Police say a 58-year-old man riding as a passenger in a vehicle near Nipomo assaulted his teen driver before a rollover collision that injured four people Monday afternoon, including two boys.

The California Highway Patrol said in a news release that at about 5 p.m., a 16-year-old was driving a 1995 Toyota Avalon southbound on Thompson Road north of Wineman Road outside Nipomo with three passengers: John Gilbert Martinez Jr., 58, of Guadalupe and a 13-year-old boy and a 10-year old boy, both from Santa Maria.

All three passengers were in the backseat, the CHP said, when Martinez assaulted the driver, causing him to lose control of the vehicle, which overturned and came to rest on its roof.

Martinez and the 10-year-old suffered major injuries, while the driver and 13-year-old passenger suffered minor injuries. All four were taken to Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria.

Martinez was later arrested on suspicion of interfering with the safe operation of a vehicle, willful cruelty to a child likely to result in great bodily injury and being under the influence of a controlled substance. As of Tuesday morning, he was listed as in custody at the San Luis Obispo County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bail.

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