Riverside, Lake Elsinore residents victims in wrong-way crash on 101 Freeway in Ventura
By Wes Woods
A wrong-way freeway crash Thursday morning in Ventura killed one man from Riverside, another man from Santa Paula and a woman from Lake Elsinore, authorities said.
The two-car high-speed collision was reported at 12:03 a.m. on the southbound 101 Freeway north of the 126 Freeway, the California Highway Patrol said.
Killed in the crash was a 34-year-old male driver from Santa Paula, a 25-year-old male driver from Riverside and a 28-year-old female passenger from Lake Elsinore, CHP officials said.
A 2008 black Toyota Scion was driving the wrong way — heading northbound on the soutbound lanes from Oxnard Boulevard to the southbound 101 — and continued driving the wrong way on the freeway at speeds close to 100 mph. authorities said.
The Toyota collided head-on with a 2011 Nissan Versa, with all three people in the two vehicles being pronounced dead at the scene. Officer Kevin Denharder said a dog was also found deceased inside of the Versa.
Authorities said the Santa Paula man drove the Toyota while the Riverside man drove the Nissan, in which the Lake Elsinore woman was riding as a passenger.
Identities were not released pending next of kin, authorities said.
Denharder said authorities are “thinking” drugs or alcohol are a factor with the Toyota driver — but until toxicology tests are conducted, nothing can be determined.
“But if you’re driving the wrong way on a freeway it’s usually not the other car’s fault,” Denharder added.
Denharder said wrong-way drivers usually travel in the fast — or far left — lane of the freeway, and anyone who travels at night or in the early morning hours should stay on the slower right lanes.
“I tell my family that,” Denharder said.
The crash remains under investigation. Anyone who has information can contact the Ventura area CHP office at 805-662-2640.
City News Service contributed to this report