A wrong-way driver has died, another person has been arrested on suspicion of felony DUI and several people were sent to the hospital following a series of collisions on U.S. Highway 101 in Palo Alto Sunday that started just after 2 a.m., according to the California Highway Patrol.
The first collision occurred at about 2:08 a.m. when the driver of a Chevrolet traveling south on northbound Highway 101 near Embarcadero Road seriously injured the driver of a Mercedes in a head-on collision, CHP Officer Dave Morey said. The wrong-way driver died at the scene after the Chevrolet caught fire and became fully engulfed with the person still inside. The CHP is investigating whether drugs or alcohol were factors in that collision.
At about 2:30 a.m., two separate collisions occurred on the southbound side of the freeway, Morey said, both of which are suspected to have occurred as the motorists were looking at the northbound collision scene. In one incident, a Honda rear-ended a BMW approximately 75 yards south of the initial crash after the driver of the car had slowed down to reportedly look at the collision. After striking the BMW, the Honda spun out of control until coming to a stop facing north in the roadway.
Not long after that, a woman who had freed herself from the Honda walked onto the southbound lanes and was struck by a Nissan, Morey said. She was taken to a hospital and underwent surgery. The driver of the vehicle that hit her, a 44-year-old man from Sunnyvale, has been arrested on suspicion of felony DUI, as drugs or alcohol are believed to be factors in that collision. Three other people connected to that collision were also transported to Stanford Hospital.
All southbound lanes were cleared just before 5 a.m. Sunday, and the northbound lanes were reopened at 6:40 a.m.
The Santa Clara County Medical Examiner-Coroner's Office will release the name of the driver who died once the individual has been identified and next of kin has been notified. The identity was not available for public release as of Sunday, June 23.
Editor's note: The Weekly's policy is to withhold the names of those arrested for most crimes until the District Attorney has determined there is sufficient evidence to file charges in the case. See our guidelines here.