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UPDATE: Driver arrested on suspicion of DUI after Nipomo car crash leaves one dead, three injured

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Posted at 11:51 PM, Mar 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-28 13:42:25-04

UPDATE (March 28, 10:42 a.m.) — One person is dead and three others are injured following a two-vehicle crash on Highway 101 in Nipomo Saturday night.

According to California Highway Patrol officials, CHP officers received a report of a collision involving two cars on Highway 101 northbound, north of West Tefft Street in Nipomo, at approximately 11:12 p.m. Saturday.

CHP officials said Ernesto Herrera, 24, of Santa Maria was driving a 2002 Chevrolet Tahoe when he entered the highway in the wrong direction from the West Tefft Street off-ramp, traveling south in the northbound lanes of traffic.

Herrera crashed head-on into a 2019 Honda CR-V, driven by 44-year-old Jose Cruz, Jr. of San Jose. There were two other people inside Cruz's vehicle, according to police.

According to authorities, the crash caused the Honda CR-V to overturn, landing on its roof on the southbound median facing northeast. The Chevrolet Tahoe came to rest on the northbound median facing north.

Police said Cruz and a woman in the Honda CR-V suffered major injuries from the collision and were transported to Marian Regional Medical Center by ambulance.

The third passenger of the CR-V was ejected from the car onto the northbound median. CHP officers said the man was also taken to Marian Regional Medical Center, where he died from his injuries.

Herrera, who suffered minor injuries, ran away from the site of the crash, but was later located by CHP H-70 and arrested by CHP ground units, said police.

Authorities arrested Herrera on suspicion of felony DUI and felony hit-and-run, according to investigators.

People who may have witnessed the crash are urged to contact the CHP San Luis Obispo office at (805) 594-8700 and ask for Officer T. Henry.


ORIGINAL STORY (March 27, 11:51 p.m.) — Three people have been injured in a two-vehicle crash on Highway 101 in Nipomo.

According to CAL FIRE SLO, multiple crews responded to the freeway near the Tefft St. off-ramp around 11:15 p.m. Saturday.

Moderate to major injuries have been reported. Emergency officials said one person was ejected from a vehicle.

According to the CHP Traffic Incident Information Page, there will be traffic restrictions in the area as the wreckage spans across both north and southbound lanes of Highway 101.

Officers may close a portion of the freeway to investigate and clean up.

The California Highway Patrol, the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office, AMR and the Santa Maria Fire Department are responding to the scene.