Two wrong-way crashes, at opposite ends of the nation, have left 11 people dead in Florida and California, officials said. In Florida, the fiery head-on collision was caught on dramatic video, capturing the violence of the crash.
In the Florida collision, a sports utility vehicle was traveling the wrong way on Interstate 275 around 2 a.m. Sunday when it hit a Hyundai Sonata, which was carrying four members of the fraternity Sigma Beta Rho at the University of South Florida in Tampa. The SUV driver was also killed, marking the fifth fatality, according to Florida Highway Patrol.
Officials said it was unclear whether alcohol was involved in the Florida crash.
Wrong-way crashes, which, according to the National Transportation Safety Board, account for about 3% of accidents, are much more likely to result in fatal and serious injuries than other types of highway crashes.
University President Judy Genshaft said in a statement that the counseling center would be available to help students struggling with the loss.
“Mere words cannot convey the depth of shock and sadness this terrible event brings to all who knew and cherished these wonderful young men,” Genshaft said. “Our hearts are heavy at the loss of such bright, energetic and optimistic young people who had promising futures ahead of them; to have their lives cut tragically short betrays our sense of fairness and security.”
California officials said they suspect that a drunk driver was to be blamed for a wong-way crash early Sunday in Diamond Bar, Calif., that left six people dead and the driver in critical condition.
Olivia Carolee Culbreath, 21, was heading east on the westbound 60 Freeway about 4:40 a.m. when her red 2013 Chevrolet Camaro and a red Ford Explorer collided head on, authorities said. Witnesses said the Camaro was traveling 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.