San Miguel residents killed in Christmas Eve crash

December 26, 2014

chpThe California Highway Patrol has identified four people from San Miguel as the victims of a fatal crash on Highway 101 near Paso Robles Wednesday evening.

The collision occurred when a semi-truck attempted to turn left into the San Paso truck stop at the intersection of the highway and Wellsona Road. While trying to cross the southbound lane, the truck collided with an oncoming minivan, which was carrying the four victims.

CHP officials identified the victims as Crystal Lee Reuck, 22, Taylor M. Swarthout, 22, Karen Michael Szasz, 45 and David Castillo, 42. The Tribune reported that the four San Miguel residents were on their way to a Christmas Eve dinner in Paso Robles.

Las Vegas resident Phillip Ken Trujillo, 55, was driving the semi, according to the CHP.

CHP investigators have not released any suspected factors in the collision. An investigation into the crash is ongoing.


To many terrible things have happened on that short stretch of highway.

It’s now time for the CalTrans to take responsibility & improve highways.

Always takes dozens of lost lives; before anything is done for our safety.

Our prayers are with & for the families.


This accident would be termed a side underride collision. It’s dark at 6:00 pm, and this web site shows how an underride collision can happen through an animation. Scroll down to the animation. It could happen to anyone of us.

I hope that Cal Trans will have an accident expert look at this intersection. The answer to avoiding this could be as simple as installing overhead lights so drivers can see turning trucks at night.

Condolences to the families of these victims. I am very sorry for your loss.

Ed Kiger

To Jeffs Thoughts:


I had the privilege of going to school with Karen at AHS. We were in the same graduating class. She was a really kind person who always had a smile to share with many of us and her eyes were bright and cheery.

I am saddened to hear of this tragedy and of the loss that your family must endure during this holiday season. My wish is that you may find solace quickly and know that she touched the lives of many in a positive way. be well and please notify somehow of the services, as I know many will wish to attend.

Thank you for your time. Sincerely, Ed Kiger AHS


Jeff, So sorry for the loss of your sister. My thoughts and prayers are with you, and your family.

jeffs thoughts

Just a heads up Karen was my sister and she was not from San Miguel she was from Atascadero. Her maiden name was Karen Frey.We all miss her very much.Thank You