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Flat tire on freeway led to deadly crash

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POSTED December 17, 2012 9:16 p.m.

REDWOOD CITY  (AP) — Three family members were killed when their stranded Lexus was struck from behind by another vehicle on a California freeway, authorities said.

The family was headed to the San Francisco airport on Friday on their way to visit relatives in Dallas for the holidays when the Lexus got a flat tire on a stretch of Interstate 280 in Redwood City.

The car pulled onto the median before it was slammed by a Volkswagen SUV, authorities said.

The California Highway Patrol identified the victims as Manjit Kaur, 48, her son, Manpreet Singh, 28, and her daughter, Jasdeep Kaur, 21, all of Santa Clara. Manjit Kaur's husband, Amarjit Singh Multani, 56, survived the crash.

"Half my family is dead. I'm barely holding myself together," Jarnail Singh, 26, the only family member not in the car, told the San Jose Mercury News on Sunday.

The driver of the Volkswagen has been identified as G.A. Smith, 82, of San Jose, CHP Officer Art Montiel told The Associated Press on Monday. Smith is hospitalized after undergoing surgery for numerous injuries including broken ribs, Montiel said. His condition was not immediately available.

A phone listing for a G.A. Smith could not be found.

Smith was "driving at a high rate of speed" when the accident occurred, and it does not appear that alcohol was a factor in the incident, Montiel added.

"No arrests have been made at this time," Montiel said. "The accident remains under investigation."

Manpreet Singh took a break Friday from his job as a manager at a San Jose fitness center to take his sister, mother and father to San Francisco International Airport for their flight to Dallas.

He planned to drop them off then head back to work. But his sister's 1997 Lexus got the flat tire and they pulled to the center divider moments before the fatal accident.

On Sunday, Jarnail Singh reflected sadly on his family who came to the United States from Amritsar, India, in 2001.

He spoke gently of his brother, whose humor and smile he said would be missed by his friends. He said his brother dreamed of opening his own gym, his mother was a woman who would always help others in need, and his sister was looking forward to finishing her business degree and starting her own company.

"She hadn't even seen life yet," he said.

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