Yet another driver-the third within less than two month’s time-has been arrested for allegedly driving the wrong way on Highway 101 under the influence of alcohol, after a Tuesday, November 17, incident.
The California Highway Patrol received a call just before 11:30 p.m. of a wrong-way driver traveling northbound on southbound Highway 101. Within minutes officers traveling southbound saw the vehicle near South Padaro Lane, going approximately 70 miles per hour. Despite their emergency lights flashing, and the officers flashing a spotlight, the vehicle, a Ford Explorer, didn’t stop, continuing northbound in the southbound lane.
The officers got off the highway and back on northbound Highway 101, pulling parallel with the Explorer on the other side of the freeway while two sheriff’s deputies headed south (on southbound 101) toward the vehicle coming their way. They started a traffic break to slow the other traffic that was also headed toward the wrong-way driver.
The sheriff’s deputies both saw the Explorer approach, traveling at 25-30 miles per hour in the center divider, and after the vehicle swerved, the deputies had to move quickly out of the way to avoid a collision.
Now one of the deputies was driving on northbound 101 parallel with the Explorer at about 80 miles per hour, while the CHP officers had stopped southbound traffic on the highway. The deputy “observed the Ford deliberately turn left and travel off the freeway,” according to a CHP press release, and the vehicle ended up in a ditch just south of the Evans Avenue on-ramp.
The driver-who drove the wrong way on the highway for five miles-was taken into custody after officers “observed obvious signs of intoxication.” Nora Reyes, a Santa Barbara resident, admitted to one of the officers she had been drinking alcohol at a friend’s house in Carpinteria.
The incident comes just two weeks after a man was allegedly driving intoxicated the wrong way on Highway 101 in Goleta, striking a vehicle and killing two people.