SAN DIEGO — A man trying to escape police was driving the wrong way on the freeway in Carlsbad when he crashed into another car, killing himself and the other driver, a 19-year-old Camp Pendleton Marine, according to California Highway Patrol.
The crash happened shortly after midnight Tuesday on northbound Interstate 5, just south of the Las Flores Drive exit.
Police said it all started nearby in Oceanside, where officers tried to pull over a truck driver for a “minor traffic violation” near Monterey Drive. The truck pulled over at first, but the driver took off when an officer started to approach his vehicle, police said.
The driver pulled onto I-5 in the wrong direction, heading south in the northbound lanes. A short time later, the truck smashed head-on into a Pontiac sedan.
The collision killed both the man in the truck and the sedan driver, according to CHP. A passenger in the truck was also badly hurt and taken to the hospital.
CHP confirmed the 19-year-old Pontiac driver was a Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton. He would not be identified further until his family had been notified, authorities said. The truck driver was a 42-year-old San Diego man, according to police.
Officers had stopped chasing the truck but were tracking the vehicle with a helicopter at the time of the crash, CHP said. “Once you see a wrong-way driver, CHP has certain rules that we partake in, not engaging in the wrong-way activity with them,” an officer explained.
The northbound freeway was shut down in the area for several hours as CHP investigated and Caltrans cleared debris from the lanes. Drivers were diverted off I-5 at Las Flores until officials reopened lanes around 5:45 a.m.