Five people in a car traveling up California’s Interstate 5 just after midnight on Sunday morning had their journey and their lives ended in a fiery head-on collision with a car driving the wrong way, reports KCRA.
The woman driving the Chevrolet south on the freeway’s northbound lanes also died, leaving six dead in total at the nightmarish scene.
The California Highway Patrol said it began receiving calls of a wrong-way driver around 12:30 a.m. But by the time investigating officers arrived, the Chevrolet had plowed into a Dodge car. Officers found the two cars engulfed in flames outside the small town of Yolo.
Witness Jeremy Morgan was one of the first on the scene after emergency vehicles had arrived. He snapped a few pictures and shared them on his Facebook page.
“Everything was glowing from the fire and the emergency lights,” Morgan told KCRA. “So it was just this big flickering show. It looked like fireworks going off.”
The Dodge was carrying three women and two men, none of whom have been identified. The woman driving the Chevrolet was likewise not identified. The Yolo County Coroner’s Office is closed on Sundays, so the bodies will be identified, at the earliest, on Monday.
Whether drugs or alcohol were involved in crash is not yet known to authorities, but police are investigating the crash.
The burning vehicles left a white residue on the pavement that became visible at daybreak.
“That is very sad,” Sam Diaz, a resident of nearby Woodland, told KCRA. “It’s heartbreaking when you hear something like that about people getting hurt like that, especially if people are driving the wrong way.”
In California, a pilot program was initiated last year to identify devices, such as blinking LED lights and video surveillance, that could potentially reduce the number of wrong-way drivers. In fact, the Sacramento region was picked for the program because it has the highest number of deadly crashes in the state, KCRA reported.
Seventeen off-ramps in Yolo County and Sacramento County were selected as part of the pilot project. However, the devices installed are located only along Interstate 80 and Highway 50. Interstate 5 does not have any of the technologies being tested.