2 killed, others injured in wrong-way DUI crash on Route 152

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Traffic accidents caused by drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol are some of the most difficult for victims and their families to handle, particularly because they are so preventable. Some might say that they're not accidents at all, considering that the at-fault driver made a choice to drive intoxicated.

Drunk driving is the suspected cause of a fatal car accident on central California's Route 152 this week. According to the California Highway Patrol, a San Jose man was traveling the wrong way on 152 in his SUV when it collided head-on with a pickup truck in the eastbound fast lane of the highway. The crash was severe enough to kill two people. One of those was the passenger in the front seat of the pickup truck, a 30-year-old woman. She was pronounced dead at the scene, but another passenger in the back seat of the truck, also female, was flown to a Modesto hospital before succumbing to her injuries.

Yet another passenger in the pickup truck, a 23-year-old woman, suffered serious injuries and was also flown to a hospital. Both the truck and SUV drivers were hurt less severely.

Police investigating the collision performed field sobriety tests on the wrong-way driver and determined that he had been driving drunk. He was arrested on preliminary charges of driving under the influence and vehicular manslaughter.

If convicted, the 68-year-old man could be sent to prison. But for the injured victims in this crash and the families of the deceased, any jail sentence may be of little consequence, given what they're going through. They couldn't have anticipated that a car would come racing toward them on the highway late at night, leaving the truck driver with little to no reaction time. The drunk driver may have had a choice, but the injured and the victims' families are now forced to deal with some very painful losses.

Source: Los Banos Enterprise, "DUI crash claims two on Highway 152," Victor A. Patton, Oct. 9, 2012

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