A 65-year-old woman was killed Wednesday in a head-on collision involving a man suspected of intentionally driving a Mercedes-Benz the wrong way on the Corona Del Mar (73) Freeway at speeds topping 100 mph.
Witnesses reported seeing the silver Mercedes being driven erratically at high speed just before 9 a.m., California Highway Patrol Officer John DeMatteo said. Luke Fitch, 23, of Newport Beach, entered the freeway at Birch Street going south in the northbound lanes, according to DeMatteo.
A few drivers managed to avoid the Mercedes before it slammed into a white BMW driven by Arda Gulesserian, who was pronounced dead at the scene, DeMatteo said. A white Lexus then crashed into the Mercedes, he said, but the driver and passenger avoided injury.
Fitch was taken to OC Global Medical Center in Santa Ana in critical condition, DeMatteo said.
CHP Sgt. Todd Kovaletz said investigators suspect Fitch may have intentionally driven the wrong way on the freeway, meaning the case could become a homicide investigation.
“Based on the reports of him driving recklessly beforehand and the way he got on, that’s why we are looking into it as a possible intentional act,” Kovaletz told ABC7. “So as far as intoxication goes right now, it’s obviously something that’s suspected, but until we can get there and interview him and talk to the hospital, it’s too early to say one way or the other.”
Three lanes of the northbound 73 Freeway remained blocked as of midday.
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