Highway 24 was the scene of tragedy after a driver believed to have been intoxicated behind the wheel allegedly caused a wrong-way crash. The allegedly drunk driver responsible for the accident was killed in the crash, meaning California authorities will not be filing charges, but their investigation is still underway. The identities of the individuals involved in the car accident have not been released, likely pending notification of next-of-kin for the deceased parties.
According to the limited information available in the report, a 35-year-old man and his male passenger were headed east in the westbound lanes of Highway 24 in Contra Costa County when the accident occurred. Their vehicle struck another car head-on, which was carrying a 25-year-old male driver and four other male passengers. The passenger in the wrong-way vehicle was killed in the impact.
The driver of the wrong-way vehicle was rushed to a local hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. All five occupants of the struck vehicle were taken to hospitals with injuries described as minor. The driver of the struck vehicle was subjected to toxicology tests that proved he was not drunk or high at the time of the crash, but a toxicology report on the deceased wrong-way driver is still pending.
If California authorities determine the wrong-way vehicle was being operated by a drunk driver, this could have ramifications for the family of the deceased passenger as well as the injured parties in the other vehicle. While state law allows these individuals to file wrongful death and/or personal injury suits in civil court regardless of police findings, any evidence they can use to prove the driver's material contribution to the accident will be taken into account by the court. In some cases, the court will choose to award damages to the injured parties and the families of the deceased as compensation for their losses.