Two people were killed early Saturday morning along northbound State Route 163 in a head-on crash with a DUI suspect driving the wrong way, officials confirmed.
The deadly collision happened just after 1:30 a.m. on SR-163 right underneath the Interstate 8 overpass in the Mission Valley area.
According to the California Highway Patrol, a man driving a white pickup truck was flashing his hazard lights while driving the wrong way on the freeway. That driver plowed into a Toyota Prius, totaling the car and killing two of the five people inside.
Officials said at least one person was left trapped but alive inside the Prius. The driver of the truck was also stuck and emergency crews had to pry all of the victims out of the wrecked vehicles.
California Highway Patrol said two people died at the scene and three others suffered major injuries. The survivors were taken to a local hospital.
The crash remains under investigation. CHP shut down traffic in the area for many hours as crews rescued victims, cleared the accident and gathered evidence.
On Saturday afternoon, CHP officials confirmed the driver of the truck had been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. His name was not released.
Bystander Ron Bryson was traveling down SR-163 and witnessed the aftermath of the collision. He said it was utter chaos on the freeway.
“In the white truck, there was one drive in there. He was trapped. He got hit by the airbag and he was hanging into the passenger seat,” Bryson described. “The car in the front – the gentleman was lying on the ground. There was an SUV ahead of them, so there were probably about three cars involved.”
Bryson said it looked like the front end of the Prius had been completely ripped off, with debris strewn all over the road.
The names of the victims killed in the crash were not immediately released.
According to the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office, the victims were both young women, ages 24 and 23. One victim was a La Jolla resident and the other was a resident of Mission Viejo, Calif.
This is the second fatal wrong-way collision on a San Diego freeway in just two weeks. On May 2, DUI suspect Shane McDonald drove the wrong way on southbound Interstate 15 noth of Mira Mesa Blvd., slamming head-on into a car carrying a family of five. Two people in that family car were killed, 55-year-old Rodolfo De la Torre and 84-year-old Teresa Esparza Hernandez.