IRWINDALE (CNS) - A young man was killed as a wrong-way driver's car smashed into several vehicles on the Foothill (210) Freeway in Irwindale today, and the alleged killer was later arrested at his house in nearby Duarte.
``We found some ID in the car that was headed the wrong way and followed up, along with Azusa officers, and arrested the driver,'' California Highway Patrol Officer Ron Warrior told reporters at the scene.
The suspect was identified as Tyler Thompson, 24, said CHP Officer Francisco Villalobos.
The deceased victim was identified as El Monte resident Justin Romo, 19. His name was released by El Monte police, who are setting up a fund to help the impoverished family pay for his burial.
The suspect allegedly drove his 1997 Honda Accord east at an estimated 75 miles per hour in the westbound lanes of the 210 Freeway near Irwindale Avenue at about 3:10 a.m., according to the CHP crash report.
Romo was driving west in his 1992 Nissan 24DSX at about the same speed, according to the CHP.
At the last moment, the wrong way driver swerved to the left, and slammed head-on into the 19-year-old's car.
Romo was pronounced dead at the scene.
His 16-year-old passenger suffered moderate injuries and was taken to County-USC Medical Center for treatment, Villalobos said.
The suspect was seen fleeing the scene immediately after the accident, according to the CHP.
He was arrested by CHP and Azusa police officers at 5:30 a.m. and booked on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, according to the CHP.
The investigation was ongoing and additional or modified charges were possible, according to Villalobos.
The crash and investigation closed all westbound lanes of the freeway west of Vernon Avenue until 7:30 a.m., according to the CHP.
Romo's mother Lupe Garcia, expressed grief and anger when El Monte police came to her home to notify her of her son's death, said El Monte police Cpl. Aram Choe.
``She also expressed how senseless this incident was and how it could have been avoided if the suspect did not get behind the wheel while intoxicated,'' Choe said.
To help cover funeral expenses, a fund has been set up for the family, whose sole provider was recently restricted from work due to a disability, the corporal said.
Anyone wishing to make a donation by check can visit any Chase Bank branch and reference account number 621355937.
Posted by Amy King