Wrong-way crash on freeway near Tustin leaves innocent motorist dead, passenger critical

EMBED </>More Videos

A wrong-way driver slammed into a car on a freeway in Orange County, in a crash that left an innocent motorist dead. (OC Hawk)

A wrong-way driver reached speeds of up to 100 mph before he slammed into a car on a freeway in the Tustin area early Friday morning.

The crash left an innocent motorist dead and his passenger critically injured, authorities said. California Highway Patrol officers spotted the wayward driver beforehand and made a desperate effort to prevent the collision, a spokesman for the agency said.

Shortly after 2 a.m., the officers were traveling southbound on the 5 Freeway when they saw the driver of a gray 2008 Toyota Camry on the northbound side, speeding in oncoming lanes of traffic.

The CHP personnel "were next to the vehicle, attempting to get the driver to stop and slow down -- using their stoplights and emergency lights -- but the driver wasn't responding and continued southbound in the carpool lane," said CHP Sgt. Todd Kovaletz.

When the Camry plowed into a silver 2000 Ford Mustang on the transition road from the 55 Freeway, the impact left the latter vehicle teetering on the side of the overpass.

The driver of the Mustang, identified only as a 33-year-old Brea man, died at the scene. Firefighter-paramedics used the Jaws of Life to extract his trapped passenger, a 24-year-old Burbank woman. She was transported to Orange County Global Medical Center in critical condition.

The 30-year-old errant motorist, a resident of Lake Forest, sustained major injuries and was also hospitalized. He was arrested on suspicion of DUI and felony manslaughter. His name was not immediately released.

"Being next to a wrong-way driver is one of the scariest things you can see," Kovaletz said, "because all you're seeing is that inevitability, what's going to happen. You're doing everything you can to get them to stop, but if they're so either intoxicated or confused to be on the wrong side of the freeway, there's not a lot of hope sometimes of getting them to stop."
Related Topics:
trafficwrong waycrashtraffic fatalitiescalifornia highway patrolCHPSanta AnaOrange CountyTustin
(Copyright ©2018 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.)