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"Wrong way" driver sought in Castaic crash

Posted: February 17, 2013 11:05 a.m.
Updated: February 17, 2013 11:05 a.m.
 

A motorist is being sought today after driving the wrong way on Interstate 5 in Castaic Friday night causing two on-coming cars to collide, sending four people to the hospital, an investigator with the California Highway Patrol said.

All four victims, two in each vehicle, suffered minor injuries and were treated at two different hospitals and later released, said CHP Officer T. Pennington.

The driver of a third car driving southbound in the northbound lanes of the freeway fled the crash scene, he said in his report.

“The wrong way driver fled the collision scene in an unknown direction,” he wrote.

Shortly before 11:30 p.m. Friday, CHP officers received a report of a “wrong way driver” traveling southbound in the northbound lanes of Interstate 5, just south of Templin Highway, Pennington said.

A couple of minutes later, they received a report of a traffic collision involving an overturned SUV and a second vehicle blocking the fast lane of the freeway northbound, north of Lake Hughes Road.

When CHP officers arrived at the crash, they learned that a 43-year-old Huntington Beach woman had been driving a 1994 Geo northbound in the fast lane of the northbound freeway, north of Lake Hughes Road.

They also learned that a black Ford Expedition operated by a 57-year-old Bakersfield man had been traveling in the lane next to the Geo, about one car-length behind it, according to the CHP officer investigating the crash.

There was a passenger in each vehicle.

The Geo driver suddenly saw “headlights approaching at a high rate of speed,” Pennington said in his report.

To avoid a collision, she turned “sharply to the right to avoid hitting the car travelling in the wrong direction,” he wrote.

The driver of the Expedition also saw the on-coming headlights, he said, but didn’t have time to react to the movements of the Geo.

“The front of the Expedition collided with the right rear of her Geo, causing her to spin out of control and collide with the metal guard rail at the east road edge of the freeway, northbound,” he wrote.

“The collision caused the Expedition driver to lose control of his vehicle as well and the Expedition overturned, rolled over the guard rail and came to rest on its roof down the embankment,” he said.

The Geo driver, identified as Jennifer Lynn Fenner, and her passenger, 42-year-old Robert Rodgers, of San Juan Capistrano, were taken to Holy Cross Hospital where there were treated for minor injuries and released, Pennington said.

The Expedition driver, identified as Jose Franco Trujillo, and his passengers, Brandon Franco, 17, both of Bakersfield, were taken to Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital for minor injuries and later released, he said.

Alcohol or drugs do not appear to be a factor at this point, he added.

The collision is still under investigation.

Anyone with information about the crash is asked to call the CHP at 661-294-5540.

jholt@signalscv.com

661-287-5527

on Twitter @jamesarthurholt

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