News

Man killed in head-on collision on U.S. Highway 101 identified

Two other collisions in area leave six people injured, results in one arrest

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.

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.

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Comments

9 people like this
Posted by Mary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 16, 2019 at 11:21 am

Did anyone determine how he got onto 101 going the wrong way? I wouldn't be surprised if it was from the Willow on ramp. The North bound off ramp and the North bound on ramp are close to one another and can be a bit confusing, especially if someone isn't from the area. Better defining those 2 ramps would be helpful.


1 person likes this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 16, 2019 at 11:44 am

There are so many factors that contribute to higher danger at 2 AM, (this taken from a study of the effect of lighting )

"Addressing this question is not straightforward. The urban night‐time injury pattern might be expected to be further complicated by extraneous factors such as driving speed, alcohol use, sleep, obstructive apnea, fatigue, driving population, and traffic flows."

Web Link

The study found that decent lighting significantly reduces the severity of injuries. Perhaps the ramps and approaches in that area could use some improved darksky-compliant lighting?


9 people like this
Posted by Tsk
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 16, 2019 at 1:27 pm

As the saying goes, “Nothing good happens after midnight.”

Very unfortunate that this one driver who has “no permanent city of residence” has not only lost his life but affected so many others with his irresponsible behavior. These victims could have health issues for life. My prayers are for the recovery for the innocent victims.


2 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 16, 2019 at 5:27 pm

Posted by Tsk, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood

>> As the saying goes, “Nothing good happens after midnight.”

I try to be off the roads by 10:00PM myself.

>> Very unfortunate that this one driver who has “no permanent city of residence”

I'm not sure how that contributed to the accident?

>> has not only lost his life but affected so many others with his irresponsible behavior.

As far as I know, the accident is still under investigation: "It has not been determined whether drugs or alcohol played a role in the collision, according to the CHP." It could actually be that better lighting would have resulted in a different outcome.


6 people like this
Posted by Jim
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 16, 2019 at 7:37 pm

Hmm......2 a.m.......perhaps he was drunk? How else do you get on the freeway going in the wrong direction? It has nothing to do with lighting or anything else. Bars close at 2 a.m. Maybe they should close at midnight.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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