MARTINEZ (CBS SF) — Drivers on Highway 4 in Martinez had to swerve to avoid hitting a taxicab that was going the wrong way Friday morning. A woman has been arrested for allegedly stealing the cab and causing two crashes that prompted the shutdown of the roadway.
A taxi driver called police around 8:15 a.m. to report that someone had just stolen his cab from the 700 block of Escobar Street, according to Martinez police.
The California Highway Patrol got a report a short time later of a taxi driving the wrong way on Highway 4 near Morello Avenue, CHP Officer John Fransen said.
The cab headed east in the highway’s westbound lanes, causing a Honda Civic to swerve out of the way and hit a roadway median, Fransen said.
“I looked through this mirror and I see this crazy lady, happily, going like this, waving her hands and just driving,” Moiz Qureshi, an eyewitness told KPIX 5.
Qureshi said the taxicab was going the wrong way at speeds of at least 65 miles per hour and paced him for three exits.
Moments later, the driver of an SUV attempted to swerve out of the taxi’s path but struck a gray van, causing the SUV to overturn.
Fransen said he did not know the extent of possible injuries suffered in the crash.
The taxi came to a stop a short distance away and Martinez police on the scene apprehended the driver, identified as 40-year-old Jaimee Ellam, police said.
She was taken to a hospital to be evaluated and placed under arrest.
Drugs are believed to be a factor in the incident but an investigation into the collisions is ongoing, Fransen said.
The CHP closed two lanes of westbound Highway 4 following the crashes but the roadway has since reopened.
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