A 48-year-old woman is dead after her car was struck early Thursday morning by a wrong-way driver in the northbound lanes of Highway 99 near Delhi, the California Highway Patrol reported.
A 19-year-old man was arrested for being under the influence and causing the crash, according to CHP spokesman Shane Ferriera. The victim has been identified as Sandra Isbell, an Atwater resident, according to the Stanlislaus County Coroner's Office.
The crash was reported around 1:15 a.m. near Bradbury Road. Atwater resident Khushdeep Gill was driving a 1999 Honda Accord southbound in the northbound lane of the highway at about 65 to 75 mph. Isbell was driving a 2003 Honda Civic northbound in the slow lane of the highway. The cars collided head-on and came to rest on the right shoulder of the highway, Ferriera said.
The victim was flown to Doctors Medical Center in Modesto, where she died. Gill, who had minor injuries, was taken to Emanuel Medical Center. He was later booked into the Merced County Jail on suspicion of felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.
Gill is not the first person in recent years accused of causing a DUI crash after driving the wrong way on Highway 99 in Merced County.
On Oct. 20, 2007, Dos Palos resident Aubree Hogue, who was 20 at the time, was driving the wrong way in the northbound lane of Highway 99 near Atwater.
Her car crashed into a 2002 Mitsubishi Lancer carrying four men. The crash killed Tommy Reynolds, 23, and Armando Lule, 19, both Navy servicemen who were stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego.
Hogue pleaded no contest to gross vehicular manslaughter and felony DUI. She is currently serving a sentence of 11 years, eight months in prison.
Gill is being held at the Merced County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail.
Reporter Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or firstname.lastname@example.org.