PALO ALTO (CBS SF) — One person was killed and several others were hospitalized following a fiery early morning crash on one side of Highway 101 in Palo Alto that led to a chain reaction crash on the other side of the freeway.
At least one person has died, another has been arrested on suspicion of felony DUI and several people were sent to the hospital in the series of collisions that started just after 2 a.m. Sunday, according to the California Highway Patrol.
A woman who was struck by a vehicle on the southbound freeway was in surgery in the aftermath of the multiple crashes. The first collision occurred at about 2:08 a.m. when a wrong-way driver on northbound U.S. 101 seriously injured another motorist in a head-on collision, CHP officer Dave Morey said.
The wrong-way driver died at the scene. 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 collision scene on the northbound side. In the first collision, one vehicle rear-ended the other on southbound U.S. 101 approximately 75 yards south of the northbound collision scene.
Sometime not long after that, a woman in the vehicle that was hit from behind walked into the southbound lanes and was struck by another vehicle on the freeway, Morey said.
The driver of the vehicle that hit her has been arrested on suspicion of felony DUI as drugs or alcohol are believed to be factors in the collision.
The suspect’s name hasn’t been released. The three other people connected to that collision were also transported to Stanford Hospital.
Kevin Cunningham of Foster City saw the wrong-way driver just seconds before the crash. The cameras on his Tesla recorded video, which Cunningham showed to KPIX 5.
“Here’s where my friend Sam said, ‘is that guy going the wrong way?’ And by that time he’s already past,” Cunningham said.
Seconds later, police said the wrong-way car smashed into another vehicle head-on, burst into flames, and trapped the wrong-way driver inside, killing him.
“His vehicle caught on fire, it’s unclear right now whether his injuries are due to the flames or the actual impact,” said Officer Dave Morey with the California Highway Patrol.
While police investigated the first crash, the second crash happened in the Southbound lanes. Cunningham said he posted the video on social media to alert folks about driving more carefully late at night.
“If someone seeing this can help others be more careful and be more vigilant on the road, if it helps one person, it was worth posting that quickly,” Cunningham said.