One woman was killed, and nine people were injured in a series of collisions that authorities say started with a suspected DUI driver on the 5 Freeway in Irvine Thursday morning. The crash involved nine vehicles and prompted an hourslong closure of all southbound lanes.
The first collision was reported on the southbound 5 Freeway just north of the 405 Freeway at about 1:30 a.m. when the a drunken driver in a Dodge Challenger was involved in a crash with one other vehicle, California Highway Patrol Officer Florentino Olivera said.
Based on the skid marks at the scene, Olivera said investigators believe the Challenger was traveling at well over 100 mph when it hit the other car.
A tow truck driver who responded to the incident attempted to flag down oncoming traffic, so drivers could avoid the wrecked vehicles, but a second crash occurred about 10 minutes later, Olivera said.
That collision started a chain reaction of crashes that involved a total of nine vehicles, Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Bommarito said.
Emergency responders found 10 patients at the scene, including an unidentified 24-year-old woman who died from her injuries.
Inside the woman's car, crews found a 6-month-old child who was also injured in the crash, Olivera said. The child was taken to the hospital and is expected to survive, he said. Authorities believe the woman killed in the crash is the child's mother, but have not officially made that determination, Olivera said.
Seven others, including a 10-year-old and an 11-year-old, were transported as trauma patients, Bommarito said.
The one other person involved in the crash was hospitalized with minor injuries, Bommarito said.
It was unclear if the suspected DUI driver, who was later identified as a 22-year-old Irving Aguilar-Calixto of Nevada, would face additional charges since the fatality occurred in the second series of collisions, Olivera said.
“We have to look at the totality of the whole incident and see if he’s going to be charged with the second crash as well,” he said.
Aguilar-Calixto was among those hospitalized following the crash. “I believe he is cooperative,” Olivera said.
Aguilar-Calixto was later arrested, CHP announced.
A SigAlert was issued for all southbound lanes of the 5 Freeway just before 2 a.m.
The freeway had reopened about noon, the CHP stated.