In two months, a Camp Pendleton Marine will face trial for murder. Prosecutors say he was drunk behind the wheel, when he drove the wrong way on State Route 76 and killed a Navy veteran and young father of two.
Now, the victim's widow claims the state of California and the California Department of Transportation are also to blame.
A white cross still marks the spot along the highway where medics pronounced Navy veteran Chris Williams dead.
On New Year's Day of 2019, Marine private Adam Barooshian was drunk and driving east in the westbound lanes of SR-76 near Calle de la Vuelta when he crashed head-on into Williams -- killing him instantly -- according to prosecutors.
This week, almost exactly one year after the fatal collision, Williams' wife is suing Barooshian, the state and the Department of Transportation. The suit alleges SR-76 is a "dangerous” and “defective" “trap” for drivers, and that the state knew so before the deadly crash. Specifically, Williams' lawyer argues SR-76 has "inadequate and confusing signage," increasing the odds drivers will hop on the freeway in the wrong direction with no safe way to reverse course.
A recent NBC 7 investigation revealed SR-76 had the second-highest fatal crash rate in the county, with 74 fatal accidents between 2008 and 2018.
NBC 7 reached out to Caltrans for a response, but a spokesman said "due to pending litigation Caltrans is unable to comment."
No state or federal law specifically prohibits any person or institution from commenting publicly whilst facing a civil lawsuit. In fact, both plaintiffs and defendants regularly agree to on-camera interviews.
Barooshian is still in jail. His murder trial is set to begin in March.