A man suspected of driving drunk in the wrong direction on the Antelope Valley (14) Freeway smashed into oncoming traffic, killing another motorist and seriously injuring two people, officials said.
The crash closed the northbound 14 Freeway past Escondido Canyon Road in Acton for about six hours, and was the second major wrong-way head-on crash on the freeway this week, CHP officers reported.
At 3:25 a.m., Bradford E. Pate allegedly steered his 2006 Toyota Tundra truck south onto the northbound lanes, hitting a 2006 Chrysler 300 head- on.
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Pate's pickup truck then rolled over and hit a 2013 Ford Econoline van with eight occupants, according to a department statement. The driver of the Chrysler, a man in his 60s, died at the scene.
His passenger, a 47-year-old Lancaster man, was taken by helicopter to Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital in critical condition, according to the statement. Another passenger, an unidentified woman, was taken to Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Burbank with major injuries.
Pate, a resident of Burbank, suffered major injuries and was transported to Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital with major injuries. He was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving causing injury, according to the statement.
He was the only person in his pickup truck. Three people inside the van suffered minor injuries, according to the department statement.
The crash shut down all northbound lanes of the 14 Freeway approaching Escondido Canyon Road, and a SigAlert was declared by the CHP at 3:42 a.m., CHP Officer Cheyenne Quesada. It ended just after 8 a.m.
It was the second time this week that a wrongway driver caused a crash on that stretch of freeway.
A driver accused of being high on methamphetamines was arrested in a wrong-way crash on Tuesday that wounded 13 people and caused a pileup that shut down the freeway for hours.
Wrong-way driving crashes are more likely to result in fatal and serious injuries than other types of highway accidents, according to a National Transportation Safety Board study in 2012.
Some 60 percent of wrong-way crashes involve alcohol, the study said. Nearly 80 percent of the crashes occurred between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., according to the study which looked at nine wrong-way collisions on highways, interstates and expressways.
City News Service contributed to this report.
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