NBC News reports four people were killed and five others were severely injured in four separate crashes involving a wrong-way driver over the weekend. Of these, three involved a driver under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
According to California Highway Patrol officer Ross Lee, having that many wrong-way drivers in a 38-hour period is highly unusual and statistically rare.
“We know that the total of wrong-way crashes accounts for a 10th of 1 percent of total crashes,” Officer Lee said.
The first crash happened in San Rafael when a 22-year-old driver was heading the wrong way and struck another vehicle. The young man died, and the other driver suffered severe injuries.
In one of the collisions, a 34-year-old Sunnyvale man was driving eastbound in the westbound lanes of Highway 237 when he collided head-on with a vehicle being driven by a 22-year-old man. Both drivers died in the crash.
Lee said that while DUI in the Sunnyvale crash is very likely, officials are waiting for a formal report from the medical examiner for confirmation.
In a third crash in the southbound lanes of Interstate 280, just south of Highway 92, the driver of a sedan was heading northbound before slamming into an SUV, killing a 54-year-old woman and seriously injuring her 14-year-old son.
On Interstate 580 in Oakland, the driver of a pickup truck was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol after going the wrong way; he ran into a city tree maintenance vehicle. Both drivers survived the crash.
According to the CHP and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, most wrong-way crashes are because drivers are unfamiliar with the area or driving under the influence.