A Santa Barbara woman was arrested early on Friday, February 1, for driving under the influence and – perhaps more even more notably – driving the wrong way on Highway 101.
At approximately 1:30 a.m., CHP officers received calls of a driver headed north on the southbound lanes of the 101. An officer near the Glen Annie Road exit then reportedly saw a set of headlights among the brake lights ahead of him and cast a spotlight directly at the oncoming vehicle – a 1999 Saturn sedan – in an attempt to alert the driver of exactly how poorly he or she was driving. With some coaching spoken through the car’s public address system, the CHP officer was able to get the driver to flip a U-turn and pull onto the shoulder, finally facing the right direction.
The driver, a 26-year-old Santa Barbara resident, was arrested on charges on misdemeanor DUI shortly after being contacted by the officer. According to a press statement issued by CHP spokesperson Donald Clotworthy, a test administered later revealed the woman’s blood-alcohol level to be over twice the legal limit, .08 percent. Clotworthy used the incident as both an opportunity to emphasize the dangers of drunk driving and to also note how a law officer’s presence helped to avert tragedy. “If it had not been for the quick action of a CHP officer, this intoxicated person would no doubt have continued traveling the wrong-way on US 101 which certainly would have resulted in a terrible tragedy,” Clotworthy noted.