Three people were seriously hurt — and two others suffered minor injuries — in a multivehicle collision Friday on Highway 101 involving a wrong-way driver, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The wreck, caused by an allegedly drunken driver, occurred shortly after 6 a.m. on the northbound freeway between the Pueblo Street offramp and the Junipero Street pedestrian overcrossing, the CHP said.
Five vehicles were involved in the collision, including the Volkswagen Vanagon that was driving south in the northbound lanes.
The wrong-way driver, identified as Joseph A. Scozzaro, 70, of Santa Barbara, encountered Yesenia G. Vidal, 23, of Goleta, as she was entering the freeway from the Mission Street onramp in her Nissan Altima, the CHP said.
Vidal swerved to the right to avoid a collision with Scozzaro, but crashed into the right guardrail.
Seconds later, Scozzaro smashed head-on into an Acura Integra driven by David V. Nguyen, 22, of Garden Grove, the CHP said.
The darkened wreckage of the three vehicles came to rest blocking most of the freeway, the CHP said, and was struck by a Chevy Silverado driven by Wayne R. Mantooth, 48, of Norwalk.
The final collision occurred when a Ford F-150 driven by Sergio M. Figueroa, 53, of Santa Barbara, struck the disabled vehicles, the CHP said.
Three of the drivers had to be extricated from their vehicles by firefighters, an extended process that was prioritized based on the severity of their injuries, Santa Barbara fire Capt. Gary Pitney said.
The CHP said Scozzaro was first reported driving the wrong way near the Las Positas Road exit.
Scozzaro suffered major injuries, and was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, the CHP said.
Nguyen and Figueroa suffered moderate injuries, and Vidal had minor injuries, the CHP said. They also were taken to Cottage Hospital for treatment.
Mantooth suffered minor injuries, the CHP said, but was not hospitalized.
All the vehicles involved sustained major damage, Pitney said.
Two of the three freeway lanes were blocked for a time, but all were reported open by 7:30 a.m.
The CHP did not indicate what Scozzaro’s blood-alcohol content was at the time of the crash.