Jackson Garland, 18, just graduated from San Luis Obispo High School. He lived with his Mom in Los Osos. He was about to begin a year of missionary work. On Wednesday night, he lost his life after his car was struck head-on as he drove home from his job at a pizza restaurant in Morro Bay.
Garland was headed southbound on South Bay Avenue, south of Turri Road. California Highway Patrol investigators say he was driving five miles an hour below the posted speed limit.
In the oncoming lane, 22-year-old Alexander Gonzales from Paso Robles was driving faster than the 55-mile-an-hour speed limit, according to investigators. Gonzales' vehicle drifted into Garland's lane where their vehicles hit head on. Gonzales' vehicle then slid into a pickup which was parked on the shoulder of the road.
The impact of the crash left twisted wreckage in the roadway. Garland died at the scene. Gonzales was taken to a local hospital and arrested on charges of felony DUI/manslaughter. The driver of the truck was not hurt. All three people involved were wearing seat belts.
Witnesses say they saw one car overturned on its roof after rolling over three times. South Bay Avenue was closed more than 3 hours during the investigation and cleanup.
Garland's friends and co-workers at Sabetta's Pizza in Morro Bay were shaken by the news. Garland was known as a "good guy" by his friends, who told reporters he planned to take a year off to perform missionary work before enrolling in college to study engineering.