“Horrific night” for first responders
By Sam Catanzaro
A man faces life in prison for driving the wrong way on the 405 Freeway and killing a driver near Brentwood during what an LAFD spokesperson described as a “horrific night” over the weekend that saw two fatal wrong-way crashes.
According to the California Highway Patrol (CHP), the crash occurred on the 405 Freeway north of Getty Center Drive on Sunday around 2:30 a.m.
Authorities say a Toyota Tacoma pickup truck traveled up to four miles the in wrong direction going southbound in the northbound lane before crashing into a Jaguar. The driver of the Jaguar, 43-year-old Joey Allen, died on the scene.
The driver of a third vehicle involved in the collision also was injured, prosecutors said.
On February 20, the Los Angeles County District Attorney (DA), announced that the driver, Antonio Marco Abrego faces one felony count each of murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and driving under the influence of an alcoholic beverage causing injury.
The case includes allegations of causing great bodily injury and/or death and refusing to submit to a chemical test.
Bail is set at $2.1 million. Abrego faces a possible maximum sentence of 15 years to life in state prison if convicted as charged.
The case remains under investigation by the California Highway Patrol, West Los Angeles Station.
The 405 crash was one of two wrong-way crashes reported that evening. Another wrong-way crash occurred on the 210 Freeway in Monrovia two hours later. A woman traveling west in the eastbound lanes of the freeway collided head-on into a pickup truck and was pronounced dead at the scene.
In a Reddit thread, Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) Firefighter and Specialist Public Service Officer Brian Humphrey described the evening as “horrific”
“It was a horrific night on Los Angeles area streets and freeways, with multiple deadly crashes, including those involving at least four wrong way drivers and/or head-on collisions. While cause investigations continue, driver impairment is strongly suspect,” Humphrey wrote.
Humphrey went on to describe the task of delivering death notifications to family members of the deceased.
“Walking up the driveway to a house in moonlit darkness, there is nothing but the empty sound of leaves or gravel beneath your feet, punctuated by the inevitable deep breath and long exhale of those in your group who are equally dreading their duty. Not a one likes to think that hours earlier, the deceased walked that very path,” Humphrey said. “house lights come on – a scurry – as a person in semi-dream state asks “who is it?”. Those three words will be the last ones spoken in a normal tone by the family that morning…Before we have a chance to get them seated and explain… the ‘Oh no, Oh no…’ phase commences. Sobs are stifled as they allow us to explain what they’re hoping isn’t true.”