A 29-year-old woman driving in the wrong direction on the Santa Monica Freeway (Interstate 10) in Santa Monica early Sunday, November 4th, crashed head-on into another vehicle, killing that vehicle’s driver and critically injuring one of its passengers, police said.
The woman, a Van Nuys resident, was traveling eastbound on the westbound side of I-10, near 17th Street and west of the Cloverfield Boulevard exit in Santa Monica, at about 3:11 a.m., when her 2007 Audi collided with a 2000 Honda driven by a 19-year-old West Covina man, California Highway Patrol (CHP) Officer Blase Austin alleges.
A passenger in the westbound Honda reported seeing the Audi traveling the wrong way with no headlights on and said the Honda driver veered to the right in an attempt to avoid the Audi, Austin said.
The front of the Audi crashed into the left front side of the Honda, causing the Honda to spin out of control and collide with the right shoulder wall, where it came to rest, he said.
After colliding with the Honda, the Audi was struck by another vehicle and was pushed into the center divider, where it came to rest, according to the CHP.
The driver of the Honda was pronounced dead at the scene by Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics. A passenger sitting in the rear driver’s side of the Honda was taken to UCLA Medical Center in Westwood, where he was listed in critical condition, Austin said.
Three other passengers in the Honda were also taken to the UCLA Medical Center, where they were treated for minor injuries.
The driver of the Audi was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and vehicular manslaughter, Austin said. She was taken to a local hospital as a precaution.
The cause of the accident is under investigation. A CHP spokesman said heavy fog was reported in the area at the time of the crash.
Following the crash, police closed the westbound lanes of Interstate 10 near Cloverfield Boulevard for about three and a half hours for investigation.