A San Francisco man is suspected by police of having been intoxicated at the time of a fatal accident in the early morning hours today. The head-on collision took the life of a 52-year-old California woman and caused serious injuries to other occupants of the vehicle in which she was riding.

The apparent drunk driving accident took place at about 12:15 am on Interstate 5 in Central California. Witnesses told police that they saw the 49-year-old San Francisco man’s Volkswagen heading the wrong-way on the interstate prior to the crash.

The Volkswagen was traveling south in the northbound lane when it struck a Ford Explorer driven by a 33-year-old man from Moreno Valley. The driver of the Ford suffered minor facial and head injuries. The 52-year-old woman who lost her life was a passenger in the Ford. Another female passenger in the Ford also suffered severe injuries including a fractured hip and severed liver.

The driver of the Volkswagen, who has been accused of drunk driving, suffered a fractured right hand, a broken neck, and broken ribs. All of the injured were transported to the Fresno Regional Medical Center. The California Highway Patrol has indicated that the Volkswagen driver will likely face felony DUI and manslaughter charges once he is released from the hospital.

Tragically, accidents involving drunk drivers account for a high proportion of serious injuries and fatalities from motor vehicle accidents. This is partially because accidents involving drunk drivers often occur at high rates of speed, or involve reckless driving such as going in the wrong direction on an interstate.

Source: The Press Enterprise “DUI suspected in fatal head-on crash” Steven Barrie, Aug. 31, 2011