An apparent wrong-way crash on Highway 101 shut down portions of the highway for over an hour and sent three people to the hospital, according to local sources. The California Highway Patrol has confirmed the motor vehicle accident occurred around 10:45 a.m. and involved two vehicles. The accident is still under investigation, and so far, no criminal charges appear to have been filed against either driver involved.
The report is still lacking in details, but it appears that a vehicle driven by an unknown person was headed the wrong way on Highway 101 when the accident occurred. The wrong-way vehicle struck another car head-on, with one of the two vehicles flipping onto its roof. The occupants of that vehicle were reportedly trapped inside the car, and Santa Maria firefighters freed them.
The highway remained closed until around noon, at which point the southbound lanes were reopened. It is not known how many people were involved in the accident altogether, but three people were taken to a local hospital with injuries described as minor to moderate. It is unclear which vehicle the injured parties occupied, and the status of the wrong-way driver is currently unavailable as well.
A motor vehicle accident precipitated by a wrong-way driver may result in criminal charges against that driver, especially if it is found the driver was intoxicated or operating the vehicle in a negligent manner. However, even if criminal charges are not filed, the injured parties are entitled under California law to file personal injury lawsuits against that driver in civil court. If sufficient evidence of the driver’s negligence can be presented, the court may choose to award damages to the injured parties.