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Wednesday, December 12 , 2018, 9:18 am | Fair 58º


Alleged Wrong-Way Driver Arrested in 6-Car Crash on Highway 101 in Santa Barbara

A wrong-way driver on Highway 101 sideswiped four oncoming vehicles late Sunday in Santa Barbara before her car slammed head-on into a fifth near Mission Street, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The alleged driver, who was injured in the collision, was transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, where she was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.

Sgt. Jim Richards said the CHP received numerous 9-1-1 reports around 8:20 p.m. of a Ford Crown Victoria driving northbound on the southbound freeway in the vicinity of Garden Street.

Ten CHP units were dispatched to the area, but before they could arrive minutes later, a multivehicle collision was reported just south of Mission Street, about 1½ miles away.

“Motorists swerved to the left or right to avoid being struck by the errant vehicle,” Richards said. “The Ford sideswiped one vehicle before colliding, head-on, with a Chevrolet Cruze.”

Both cars sustained major front-end damage in the wreck. Four other vehicles had minor damage, Richards said.

He said the driver of the northbound car — identified as Amanda Rose Valenzuela, 22, of Ojai — suffered moderate injuries in the crash and was taken by American Medical Response ambulance to nearby Cottage Hospital.

The other drivers — including the victim of the head-on collision, identified as 27-year-old Karissa Peach of San Francisco — had only minor injuries and were treated at the scene.

“There were indications at the scene that led CHP officers to suspect alcohol intoxication may have played a significant role in this collision,” Richards said, adding that Valenzuela was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol causing an injury.

The collision blocked two of the freeway’s three southbound lanes, and Richards said traffic through the area was backed up for about a half-hour while the wreckage was cleaned up and investigators gathered evidence.

The CHP identified the other motorists as Ines Teteris, 62, of Ventura, driving a Honda CRV; Danny Zeddy, 62, of Santa Clarita, driving a Volvo S60; Maurilio Aurelio, 31, of Oxnard, driving a Ford F-150; and Reynaldo Perez, 20, of Oxnard, driving a Toyota Camry.

Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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