SACRAMENTO COUNTY (CBS13) — California Highway Patrol Officers risk their lives to stop a wrong-way driver on Highway 50.
CHP is shocked this didn’t end with a bad crash or even death. An officer said the driver was headed east in the westbound lanes of Highway 50, ignoring police lights and sirens.
“This really could have been a tragedy,” said CHP officer Jim Young.
Dispatch first started getting calls about the driver as he passed through the Rancho Cordova area. The driver can be seen on video speeding past multiple cars. Some were in the lane next to him. Police said it’s unclear how long this driver was going the wrong way.
“They had their lights and sirens on, the vehicle wasn’t stopping,” Young said.
Scanner traffic reveals a chaotic but strategic effort to stop the driver. An aerial crew communicated the speed and location of the driver to police and dispatchers. Police slowed traffic down and took action. The first officer rammed into the driver’s back end. The driver didn’t stop. Another patrol car took a hit and the wrong-way driver eventually slowed to a stop.
“I think he finally realized he wasn’t getting away and we were going to take any action necessary to make sure he did not harm the motoring public,” Young said.
Young said this was a dangerous operation and his colleagues risked their lives to save others
“We’re very happy we were able to get there this time and everything came out ok,” Young said.
CHP said the wrong-way drunk driver, Mauricio Santiago Lopez, is 20 years old and his blood-alcohol level was two times the legal limit. He had a passenger who was also drunk, underage and arrested for public intoxication.