A wrong-way crash on the 60 Freeway in Riverside left one dead and two injured early Sunday, officials said.
Calls about a driver traveling west on the eastbound side of the highway near Pigeon Pass Road began coming in at 3:31 a.m., California Highway Patrol Sgt. Scott Parent told KTLA.
The agency immediately sent three units to intercept the driver, Parent said. At 3:37 a.m., however, someone had already reported a crash on the freeway near Main Street.
Officers learned that a woman in a red Ford Mustang was heading the wrong way on a high occupancy vehicle lane when she crashed head-on into a Dodge Caravan carrying two people, according to CHP. The woman apparently drove more than 7 miles in the wrong direction.
Parent said a 23-year-old passenger in the Dodge Caravan died at the scene. Both drivers, who also appeared to be in their early 20s, sustained major injuries and were taken to a hospital, the sergeant added.
William Hayes, a freelance photographer who shoots such incidents for work, was driving home when he spotted the wrong-way driver and called 911. He said it wasn't long before he saw the Mustang and Caravan mangled.
"It was not a good sight to see," Hayes told KTLA.
Detectives have not determined whether or not the driver of the Mustang was driving intoxicated. CHP said the Mustang driver, depending on what investigators learn, could face charges of manslaughter or even murder.
"My recommendation [to] anybody driving at night is to try to stay out of the fast lane," Parent said.
Caltrans urged motorists to avoid the area and take alternative routes as the investigation continued Sunday morning.