AZUSA (CBSLA.com) — A 24-year-old Duarte man has been arrested following a wrong-way collision that claimed the life of a 19-year-old man and injured a 16-year-old female.
According to California Highway Patrol officials, Tyler White Thompson was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and felony hit and run after fleeing from the scene of the accident.
Authorities said the accident happened just after 3 a.m. Saturday on the westbound lanes of the 210 Freeway in Azusa, KNX 1070’s Ed Mertz reported.
The victim was identified as Justin Romo of El Monte. He was traveling with his girlfriend in a white 1992 Nissan that was struck by the alleged wrong-way vehicle, described as a black 1997 Honda Accord.
About four minutes before the crash, authorities said they had received calls reporting a wrong-way driver that was driving east near the median.
Following the crash, police said the driver of the suspected wrong-way vehicle allegedly fled on foot but was subsequently detained, according to KCAL9’s Joy Benedict.
According to CHP officers, Thompson had dropped off a friend prior to the crash.
“The driver fled the scene,” said Sgt. Rob Warrior. “He was later located at his home in Duarte.”
Romo was declared dead at the scene, while his girlfriend was taken to USC Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.
CBS2’s Art Barron spoke with the victim’s mother, Lupe Garcia, Saturday afternoon about the terrible tragedy involving her son.
“That never occurred to me in my mind that something like that could happen to my son,” said Garcia. “She’s doing great, they were a great couple, they were together about two months.”
The collision also caused the westbound lanes of the 210 Freeway to remain closed for at least two hours as investigators collected evidence and cleared debris from the fatal accident. The freeway was subsequently reopened.
Garcia has always been a supporter of the Mother’s Against Drunk Driving organization.
“Now unfortunately, I’m one of the mothers and I’m going to be supportive of that group,” said Garcia. “Just make sure they don’t drink and drive please, because I lost a son to that.”
The cause of the crash is under investigation.
Meanwhile, a memorial fund has been established at Chase Bank in El Monte to aid Romo’s family with funeral expenses. Persons wishing to donate are asked to visit any Chase branch and donate any amount in the form of a check to account number #621355937.