Driver Pleads Guilty in Wrong Way Crash on I-8

A Santee woman pleaded guilty in a wrong-way crash in which the victim was initially believed to be responsible.

Lauren Ashley Freeman, 23, pleaded guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and DUI causing injury Friday, according to City News Service.

Hours after the February 26, 2018 crash on the ramp from Interstate 8 to northbound Interstate 5, California Highway Patrol officers reported that Justin Callahan, died when he drove the wrong way on the highway. 

Callahan's Volkswagen Jetta collided head-on with two women in a blue Toyota Camry around 1:55 a.m. Freeman and a passenger were riding in the Camry and traveling from northbound I-5 to I-8, the CHP reported. 

However, NBC 7 spoke with Tommy Villafranca, Callahan's brother, who demanded the CHP get their information right. 

“It just didn’t make sense," Villafranca told NBC 7, noting what time his brother left his job that morning. "It just didn't work in the timeline. It's impossible." 

“Justin did not hit those girls," Villafranca said. "In fact, it happened the other way around.”

The position of the vehicles after the crash led CHP investigators to believe the victim was initially at fault, CNS reported. 

A plea agreement states Freeman had a blood alcohol content of .28 at the time of the crash, according to CNS. 

She will be sentenced in September and faces nearly a dozen years in prison.

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