A wrong-way driver suspected of being under the influence crashed into an SUV carrying a family on the 405 Freeway in Van Nuys early Sunday morning, according to the California Highway Patrol
The crash was reported at 2:23 a.m. on the southbound side of the freeway near Victory Boulevard, CHP officers said.
The incident started after officers pursued the suspected drunken driver who was weaving through traffic at approximately 100 mph on the 101 Freeway in the Sherman Oaks area, authorities said.
At some point, the driver of the Toyota Sequoia transitioned onto the southbound 405 Freeway from the 101, officials said. The driver then made a U-turn and headed north in the southbound 405 HOV lane, according to the CHP.
Authorities said they ended their pursuit on the ground once the driver started traveling in the wrong direction, but a crew aboard an airship continued to follow him.
“The westbound 101 transitions to southbound 405 – it’s like a long cloverleaf roadway. The suspect vehicle was followed by two of our patrol units through that curve,” CHP Capt. Tom Webster said. “It proceeded just south of 101 on 405, and at some point before Ventura Boulevard, that vehicle slowed and made a U-turn. Our units attempted to pin the vehicle in before it made a U-turn, but it successfully made the U-turn and continued northbound in the southbound lanes.”
The driver ended up crashing into a Toyota Highlander with a Lawndale couple and their 2-month-old daughter inside, officers said.
The wrong-way driver – who was only identified as a 26-year-old man from Chatsworth – was rescued after being trapped in his overturned SUV and was transported to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center with major injuries, officials said. He was subsequently arrested on suspicion of DUI and evading a peace officer causing injury, according to a news release from the CHP.
The woman in the Toyota Highlander was hospitalized with severe injuries, while the man and baby girl sustained minor injuries, authorities said.
All four people were expected to survive, officers said.
All lanes of the southbound 405 Freeway were closed and a Sigalert was issued after the crash, but all lanes were reopened shortly after 5 a.m., according to the CHP.
KTLA’s Dave Mecham contributed to this report.