Two wrong-way crashes in Florida and California, at 2 a.m. and 4:40 a.m. early Sunday morning, have taken the lives of 11 people. The wrong-way crash in California has resulted in the DUI arrest of 21-year-old Olivia Culbreath of Fontana. The wrong-way crash in Florida was caught on video by another driver and shows the moments leading up to the fiery crash, reported the Daily News on Feb. 10, 2014.
“The video shows the Ford Explorer zooming down I-275, missing several cars until it collides head-on with the Hyundai Sonata carrying four University of South Florida frat brothers.”
Jada Wright, who took the video of the Florida collision with her cell phone just shortly after 2 a.m., could not believe her eyes when she saw the SUV swerving through oncoming traffic at a high speed on Interstate 275 near Tampa, Fla.
“What is he doing?” one can hear her screaming in her cell phone video.
Only a few seconds later, the wrong-way driver’s SUV burst into flames after slamming into the Hyundai Sonata of four University of South Florida fraternity brothers. The four fraternity brothers -- identified by university officials as 21-year-old Jobin Joy Kuriakose, 22-year-old Ankeet Harshad Patel, 20-year-old Imtiyaz “Jim” Ilias, and 21-year-old Dammie Yesudhas -- were instantly killed. The identity of the SUV driver has not been confirmed due to extensive damage to the vehicle, according to a Florida Highway Patrol news release. It is unclear if alcohol was involved in the crash.
Less than three hours later, around 4:40 a.m., 21-year-old Olivia Carolee Culbreath was heading east on the westbound 60 Freeway near Phillips Ranch Road in Diamond Bar in California when her red 2013 Chevrolet Camaro struck a red Ford Explorer, and the Explorer then subsequently struck a gray Ford Freestyle, reported the Los Angeles Times.
According to eyewitnesses, Olivia Carolee Culbreath appeared to be driving more than 100 mph.
“Four people were pronounced dead at the scene, and two others died at UC Irvine Medical Center. All but one of the victims were women.”
The two victims riding in the wrong-way driving Chevrolet Camaro were identified as 24-year-old Kristin Melissa Young of Chino and 24-year-old Maya Louise Culbreath of Rialto. The driver, 21-year-old Olivia Carolee Culbreath, is in critical condition with a broken femur and ruptured bladder. She has been arrested for suspicion of manslaughter and driving under the influence.
The two people in the Ford Explorer – which was cut in half by the head-on collision – died at the scene and were identified as 47-year-old Gregorio Mejia-Martinez and 42-year-old Ester Delgado. The two other family members in the SUV, 42-year-old Leticia Ibarra and 20-year-old Jessica Jasmine Mejia, were declared dead at a hospital. All four victims were from Huntington Park, Calif.
The Ford Freestyle involved in the wrong-way crash in California was also heavily damaged, reported KABC Los Angeles, but the driver, 57-year-old Joel Cortez of Ontario, escaped the collision with scratches and severe bruises. According to his son, his father is in a lot of pain and described the horrific scene of the accident to him.
"All he remembers really is just the airbag going off and he was just moving and moving, and finally the car came to a stop and he had looked around, and there were people like, lying on the ground, and he said it was like something you would see out of a movie. We're actually really blessed to the fact that we still have him. We know that six people have been killed from this, and we send our condolences to those families and friends of the victims."