Wrong-way driver kills 19-year-old on 210 West in Azusa

AZUSA, Calif. (KABC) -- A 19-year-old El Monte man was killed when a wrong-way driver slammed into him on the westbound 210 Freeway in Azusa Saturday.

Authorities say a 1997 Honda Accord was traveling eastbound on the 210 Freeway when it collided head-on with a white 1992 Nissan 24DSX near Vernon Avenue just after 3:30 a.m.

A male driver in the Nissan, identified as Justin Romo, was declared dead at the scene. A 16-year-old female passenger in the Nissan, later identified as Romo's girlfriend, was rushed to County-USC Medical Center with moderate injuries.

The wrong-way driver of the Honda and his passenger fled the scene on foot, but Azusa police located them and took them into custody about two hours later.

"We found some ID in the car that was headed the wrong-way and followed up, along with Azusa officers, and arrested the driver," California Highway Patrol Officer Ron Warrior said.

The suspect was identified as 24-year-old Tyler Thompson. He was booked on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, according to the CHP.

Westbound lanes were shut down for hours as police investigated. The freeway reopened at about 7:40 a.m.

The victim was the youngest of four children. His family says he loved riding bikes and skateboarding at Bonita Skate Park in Arcadia.

"I just want justice to be served and that they get the highest time that they could get for killing Justin, and it's unfortunate that he got behind the wheel and he took my son," Romo's mom, Lupe Garcia said.

Police say Romo's family was already going through financial hardship when they were notified about Romo's tragic death. A memorial fund has been created at the Chase Bank in El Monte to help the family pay for funeral expenses. If you wish to help, visit any Chase branch and donate with a check to account #621355937.

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