A man trying to flee from police was driving the wrong way on the 5 Freeway in Carlsbad when he crashed into another car, killing himself and the other driver early Tuesday, the California Highway Patrol said.
The crash happened shortly after midnight on the northbound 5 just south of the Las Flores Drive exit, according to KTLA sister station KSWB in San Diego.
Authorities said the incident started in nearby Oceanside, where police tried to pull over a truck driver for a “minor traffic violation” near Monterey Drive. The truck pulled over at first, but the driver took off when an officer started to approach his vehicle, according to CHP.
The driver pulled onto 5 in the wrong direction, heading south in the northbound lanes. A short time later, the truck smashed head-on into a Pontiac sedan.
The collision killed both the man in the truck and the sedan driver, according to CHP. A passenger in the truck was also badly hurt and taken to the hospital.
CHP told KSWB the 19-year-old Pontiac driver was a Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton, but they would not release his name until his family is notified. Authorities said the truck driver was a 42-year-old San Diego man.
Officers had stopped chasing the truck but were tracking the vehicle with a helicopter at the time of the crash, CHP said.
“Once you see a wrong-way driver, CHP has certain rules that we partake in, not engaging in the wrong-way activity with them,” an officer explained to KSWB.
The northbound freeway was shut down in the area for several hours as CHP investigated and Caltrans cleared debris from the lanes. Drivers were diverted off the 5 at Las Flores until officials reopened lanes around 5:45 a.m., the station reported.