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Wrong-way crash on I-5 kills 2 in Chula Vista

chula vista wrong way crash 4-10-24
Posted at 6:30 AM, Apr 10, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-10 23:23:10-04

CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) — Two people died Wednesday morning after a car driving in the wrong lane on the I-5 crashed into another car, causing the innocent driver's car to catch fire.

All lanes of I-5 south were closed for several hours as the California Highway Patrol investigated the crash and worked to clear the scene, interrupting the morning commute. By 9 a.m., the scene was cleared, and the lanes were reopened.

ABC 10News sent a reporter to the scene on I-5, just before the Palomar Street exit. That area was completely blocked off.

CHP tells us it got calls around 3:30 a.m. about the car going the wrong way in the southbound lanes at Camino De La Plaza near the border. According to a CHP press release sent Wednesday afternoon, a 67-year-old San Diego woman was driving the red Honda Civic that traveled the wrong way.

The Honda crashed into a Dodge Challenger driven by a 16-year-old boy from Imperial Beach, CHP says.

"As a result of the crash, the Dodge caught fire and became fully engulfed. Both drivers were trapped in their vehicles and sustained fatal injuries," the release says.

CHP says a toxicology report by the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office is underway to see if alcohol or drugs were a factors in this crash.

10News spoke to someone who witnessed the crash. He said the driver going the wrong way was driving recklessly in a red Honda, and the car driving the right way, which caught on fire, looks like it could be a Dodge Challenger.

"The other car caught on fire right away. When I got off, we saw the guy in the right lane trying to get out. It was so fast," says Juan Zamorano. "The fire consumed the car so quick — he was out of it. We Tried to help the guy... The [person] who was driving the wrong way. We tried to help [them] out, but [they] were gone too."

This crash caused major traffic delays.

CHP says the crash is still under investigation. If you have any information for CHP, reach out to its San Diego office at 858-293-6000. The identities of the drivers will be released after their next of kin are informed about their deaths.

This isn't the first time we've seen wrong-way crashes in San Diego County. 10News has reported on several crashes like this over the last year:

This is a developing story. Stay with ABC 10News as our team of journalists works to gather the latest information.