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Surveillance Video Catches Wrong-Way Driver Just Before Fiery Crash

SACRAMENTO -- Watching someone driving the wrong way on a Downtown Sacramento street, headed for a freeway, it's safe to assume it's not going to end well.

That's what happened around 5 a.m. Saturday, and by the time someone noticed and called 911, it was too late to prevent the fiery wreck that came next.

The time stamp on the surveillance footage is an hour off, but at 5:10 Saturday morning a car can be seen racing the wrong way down J Street, which is just a one-way street.

FOX40 slowed down the footage so you can get a better look.

The car passes the Third Street intersection and continues straight onto the J Street off-ramp from I-5, narrowly missing other cars.

On the freeway the driver hit an oncoming semi-truck and both vehicles burst into flames.

The wrong-way driver died inside, the semi-driver survived.

"If you look at wrong-way driving incidents they're fairly rare, less than 1 percent of all collisions, they're just more spectacular and more newsworthy," said Caltrans Traffic Safety Engineer Darryl Chambers.

Still, Caltrans is about one year into a two-year pilot program aimed at figuring out why these crashes happen and how to prevent them.

"Probably the largest number of incidents include drivers under the influence," Chambers said.

The J Street off-ramps are not part of the pilot program, but Caltrans is testing the efficiency of wrong-way driver sensors at six Sacramento freeway entrances, which alert authorities if wrong-way drivers try to enter.

The U.S. Hwy 50 ramps where Caltrans is testing the sensor systems are:

The Fifth Street (River Road) westbound off-ramp
The Jefferson Boulevard westbound off-ramp
The Fifth Street eastbound off-ramp
The 10th and W streets westbound off-ramp
The 16th and W streets westbound off-ramp.