Fatal Car Crash Off Sunset Cliffs on Saturday in Ocean Beach

by on January 5, 2015 · 14 comments

in Environment, Ocean Beach

OB Cliff autocrash 1-2-15 10news

Screen capture of Channel 10News broadcast of accident.

Local Kyle Witkowski Doesn’t Survive Crash

The big news coming off the weekend in OB is the fatal car crash off Sunset Cliffs during the early hours of Saturday, January 3rd.  The male driver was killed and the female passenger seriously injured when a Chevy Tahoe missed the turn at the end of Bacon Street and flew off the cliffs, going through the guard-rail and fence and landing upside down on the rocks below.  The driver has now been identified as Kyle Witkowski – who was well known and loved by many in OB.

OB Sunset Cliffs Bacon end

Google map showing “L” junction of Bacon Street and Coronado Avenue in Ocean Beach.

Here is an on-the scene account by someone who lives near the accident site, Dave Rice at SD Reader:

 A vehicle sped off a cliff in southern Ocean Beach early Saturday morning, January 3, resulting in the death of the vehicle’s male driver and a female passenger being airlifted to a hospital in critical condition.

“We first saw him way down around Newport [Avenue],” said a female witness who declined to provide her name and disappeared before police arrived on scene for questioning. “He just blew through all the stop signs; he must have been doing, like, 80 and barely hit the brakes right at the end of the street.”

The driver was traveling southbound on Bacon Street, which makes an abrupt [left] turn into Coronado Avenue five blocks south of Newport, O.B.’s main drag. Land there gives way to a drop-off of approximately 60 feet, where boulders placed by the Army Corps of Engineers years ago provided a roof-first landing for the errant vehicle.

The crash drew neighbors to the corner, near where O.B. transitions into Sunset Cliffs, from a radius of several blocks, where onlookers were eventually forced away from the scene by dozens of responding police and fire-department units.

Locals slowly dispersed following the erection of a police barrier, though authorities remained at the site awaiting the arrival of a coroner. No comment was offered regarding whether alcohol was suspected to be involved in the accident.

10News reported that San Diego police Officer Robert Heims said the vehicle was being driven south at high speed on Bacon and missed the left turn onto Coronado Avenue crashing through the guard rail and a chain link fence, landing upside down, a fall of about 100 feet.  The 28-year-old driver died at the scene. The 24-year-old female passenger was expected to survive, Heims said.  Police said they believe the vehicle was going faster than 50 mph, but do not believe alcohol or drugs contributed to the crash.

Neighbor Robert Kopanise said to 10News:

“It sounded like a Dumpster that got picked up in the air and dropped. Everyone heard it. It was this … metal crash. It just woke you up.”

Neighbor Stan Bolle commented to 10News that he is not surprised this happened.

“It’s a dangerous area and a dangerous time of night around here. [A] high-speed situation going down Bacon and … not being able to make the turn. I guess you go back to the old adage that nothing good happens after midnight.”


Kyle Witkowski –

Kyle Witcomski

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

jettyboy January 5, 2015 at 11:21 am

Victim was a very close friend of our family, and my sons best friend. a lot of Obecians knew and loved him. His name is Kyle Witcowski. Sad day in OB


obsurfer January 5, 2015 at 11:51 am

Ripping surfer, always cracking a smile, laughing and having a good time. Legend. One of the good guys.


Valerie Paz January 5, 2015 at 12:56 pm

Willie Witkowski and Lorie Witkowski greive the loss of their eldest son, Kyle Witkowski. The outpouring of love and support has been greatly appreciated.

If you knew Kyle, the family would appreciate your posting good stories about Kyle to commemorate a life well worth living.

Thank you.


Frank Gormlie January 5, 2015 at 1:29 pm

Valerie, if you, or any family or friend wishes to write something up on Kyle in the form of an obit, we’ll certainly post it on the OB Rag.


Andrea Nickole Malloyd January 5, 2015 at 2:29 pm

Kyle Witkowski was a neighbor and good friend of mine in Mira Mesa before his family moved to Ocean Beach. Even after they moved I was a regular fixture at the Witkowski home on weekends as a kid. I loved Kyle dearly. He was like a brother to me. In fact, he was almost a stepbrother to me. It broke my heart the minute I read about the crash. You will be missed Kyle!


Bridget Scott January 5, 2015 at 4:29 pm

I will miss my cousin deeply. We were just having a nerf gun war the Saturday before. I will miss his smile and laugh. He will always be remembered as a big hearted kid who loved life. Rest in paradise.


editordude January 5, 2015 at 10:12 pm

We invite any family or friend of Kyle’s to write up something about him and we’ll post it. Send it to our email at obragblog@gmail.com . We already have a photo of him. The Stone family, who we at the OB Rag are close to – Jeff has taken photos for us – was very, very close to Kyle.

We extend our condolences to all his family and friends.


Valerie Paz January 6, 2015 at 8:01 am

The family – my step family of 14 years – would greatly appreciate any postings honoring who their son was for the community. Thank you in advance for your kind words.


Valerie Paz January 6, 2015 at 8:00 am


Please correct the spelling of the last name to WITKOWSKI. Thanks.


Bissell January 6, 2015 at 11:25 pm

Last time I saw him he was at lobster-mans at pointloma point solo on a small dingy on a far overhead day and caught two charging man barrels around the giant rock and came out dry. I grew much respect for his surfing that day and I’m sad to know OB lost another 1502 ledgend. “I’m sure Garret and steveye are giving him a well deserved welcome to heaven.” Much love and respect.

Celebrate his life. Only the good die young!


M F January 7, 2015 at 1:19 pm

Kyle was a great surfer and a solid fisherman and a very nice guy, it always made me happy to see him out on the panga with ASG and I’ll always remember him cheering me on and me cheering him on while pulling on a yt or wsb. My deepest sympathies to Willie and Family you’re in my thoughts and prayers.


catsmom January 7, 2015 at 2:24 pm

Going 80 mph and “blew through all the stop signs”
Very fortunate no innocent bystanders were killed.


gardeningdonna January 7, 2015 at 10:22 pm

Please put up location/date/time of memorial. condolences to all the family.


obsurfer February 8, 2015 at 5:04 am

can’t say enough good things about kyle. I live about half a block from where he did, surfed around him since he was a kid. used to pass him on the road every few days, throw a shaka and a smile. he was a great person. won’t forget that guy ever.


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