Just after 3 am Wednesday, April 10, two people died in a wrong-way crash on the southbound I-5 in Chula Vista. The head-on collision occurred near North Palomar Street. Though the crash occurred in the early morning, it caused a serious delay in morning commuter traffic. All southbound lanes were closed while crews dispatched emergency response and clean up. The southbound lanes were reopened just before 9 am.

Early Morning Wrong Way Crash on San Diego I-5 Leaves Two DeadAccording to authorities, the wrong-way driver was a 67-year-old San Diego woman, traveling in the fast lane in a red Honda Civic. She was believed to be traveling at speeds between 80 to 90 mph. At around 3:20 am she collided with a Dodge Challenger, driven by a 16-year-old boy, who was traveling in the correct direction.

According to California Highway Patrol (CHP), drivers first started reporting the wrong way driver in the Camino de la Plaza area, which is over six miles south of where the accident occurred.

After the accident, the Dodge caught fire and was engulfed in flames. Both drivers were trapped in their vehicles and both unfortunately died at the scene. Their identities have not been disclosed.

This incident is under current investigation to determine the cause and the San Diego Medical Examiner’s Office is running a toxicology report to determine if drugs or alcohol contributed to causing this fatal accident.

Causes of Wrong-Way Driving and Collisions

On average, about 43 people are killed each year on California highways in wrong-way driving accidents. Often, these accidents occur late at night, between the hours of 6 pm and 6 am, and they tend to take place in the left-hand lanes.

According to a study conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), driver impairment is the number one cause of wrong-way collisions. Over 60 percent of drivers in fatal wrong-way collisions were considered to be drinking and have high BAC levels.

Other factors that may contribute to wrong-way driving and collisions may include:

  • Driver lack of awareness or confusion
  • Driver medical conditions or fatigue
  • Poor roadway design or infrastructure
  • And more

“The aftermath of wrong-way accidents can be devastating,” says Brett Schreiber, attorney at Singleton Schreiber, “they often have deadly outcomes like this one. Our hearts go out to the families that suffered losses today. While the San Diego Police investigate the circumstances of this crash, it is important that the families know they may have legal recourse and they may find it helpful to reach out to an attorney with experience in wrongful death and car accident claims.”

Safety Tips and What to Do If You See A Wrong-Way Driver

If you see a wrong-way driver, the number one thing to do is keep yourself safe. Do not attempt to stop them. Steps to take when you see a wrong-way driver include:

  • Move out of the way as quickly and safely as possible
  • Call 911 as soon as it is safe to do so, do not attempt to pursue the wrong way driver
  • Keep an eye out on the distant horizon, this will help you spot anything in the roadway ahead of time and give you time to maneuver out of the way
  • If you are driving at night, keep your headlights on so other drivers, especially wrong-way drivers, can see you

If you lost a loved one in a wrong-way driving accident, depending on the circumstances and details of the crash, you may be able to obtain compensation for wrongful death. Contact Singleton Scheiber today by calling (619) 771-3473 or emailing info@singletonschreiber.com for more information.