A man who died while driving the wrong way in an early-morning head-on collision on U.S. Highway 101 in Palo Alto last month was identified Monday by the Santa Clara County Medical Examiner-Coroner's Office as 33-year-old Jose Vasquez Navas.
The collision occurred shortly after 2 a.m. on June 16 when a man in a Mercedes-Benz traveling north collided with Vasquez Navas, who was in a Chevrolet heading south in the northbound lane near Embarcadero Road. The Chevrolet caught fire with Vasquez Navas still inside, and emergency personnel pronounced him dead at the scene. Vasquez Navas had no permanent city of residence, and his death was caused by blunt force injuries from the automobile collision, according to the Medical Examiner-Coroner's Office.
The driver of the Mercedes, a 25-year-old San Mateo man, was transported to Stanford Hospital with major injuries, including a broken leg. The northbound lanes were closed for emergency responders and California Highway Patrol officers to investigate the collision until about 6:30 a.m. It has not been determined whether drugs or alcohol played a role in the collision, according to the CHP.
The initial collision led to a second collision in the same area on the southbound side of Highway 101 around 2:40 a.m. A driver in a BMW heading south had slowed down to look at the collision when he was rear-ended by a Honda carrying four people. The Honda spun 180 degrees, and while the passengers attempted to extricate themselves from the vehicle, the Honda was struck head-on by a Nissan heading south.
The driver of the BMW, a 66-year-old Palo Alto man, was transported to Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Redwood City with minor injuries. The driver of the Honda, a 31-year-old Union City man, suffered minor injuries but was not transported to a hospital. However, three 30-year-old women riding in the Honda were taken to Stanford Hospital with moderate to major injuries.
The driver of the Nissan, a 44-year-old resident of Sunnyvale man, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, and taken to the Santa Clara County jail.
The southbound lanes of Highway 101 were closed until about 7:30 a.m.
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