Wrong-way driver dies, 2 women hurt in I-5 head-on crash

SAN DIEGO – A 35-year-old San Diego man who drove the wrong way on two San Diego freeways was killed and two East County women were seriously injured when his sedan collided head-on with another car at a freeway transition ramp in San Diego’s Old Town neighborhood, authorities said.

The wrong-way Volkswagen Jetta driver got onto Interstate 8 at Sunset Cliffs Boulevard heading eastbound in the westbound lanes early Monday morning, California Highway Patrol Officer Tommy Doerr said. At 1:54 a.m., he attempted to head south on Interstate 5 in the northbound lanes.

After successfully negotiating the ramp that connects the northbound I- 5 to westbound I-8, the Jetta plowed into the front end of a Toyota Camry, Doerr said. A Jeep Cherokee behind the Camry slowed but the 25-year-old Los Angeles-area man behind the wheel was unable to stop and “tapped the rear- end” of the Toyota, Doerr said.

The Jetta driver died at the scene, while the 22-year-old Santee woman driving the Camry sustained major injuries and was taken to Scripps Mercy Hospital, Doerr said. A 36-year-old El Cajon woman who was a passenger in the Camry suffered moderate injuries and was taken to UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest. Nobody in the Jeep was injured.

The crash closed the northbound I-5 transition to both directions of westbound I-8 for about three hours, but all lanes were reopened just before 5 a.m. CHP accident specialists were investigating the deadly collision, and the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office was expected to determine if the wrong-way Jetta’s driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.