SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Law enforcement issued a warning ahead of Memorial Day weekend after officers arrested a woman who was reportedly going 100 mph, with children in the car.
It happened before 2:30 a.m. Thursday when dispatchers started getting calls about a wrong-way driver speeding on Highway 99 from Laguna Boulevard.
The California Highway Patrol called Thursday’s wrong-way driver incident a tragedy avoided.
“We definitely saved the lives of four young children and a mother and possibly a victim that could’ve been involved in the wrong-way traffic collision,” Mark Leavitt, with the CHP said.
Leavitt said 911 calls helped officers track down and pull over the 31-year-old Sacramento woman.
“They found the vehicle driving the wrong way in the number one lane, or fast lane,” Leavitt said.
The driver was arrested, and the CHP said as an officer was moving her vehicle off the highway, they heard something from the back of the car.
“He heard the voice of a little child in the backseat. He was startled, he turned around and saw four children in the back of the vehicle,” Leavitt said.
The CHP said a 9-year-old girl and three boys — ages 7, 5, and 4 — weren’t properly restrained or using car seats. Their mother was arrested and could be facing driving under the influence and child endangerment charges.
“It’s heartbreaking because it’s 100% preventable. There is never any reason to get behind the wheel of a car, especially if you have children in the car,” Lori Bergenstock said.
Bergenstock, with Mother’s Against Drunk Driving, said in 2019, 966 people died in California in DUI-related incidents. In 2020, that number went up approximately 20% to 1,050. This Memorial Day weekend, their message is clear: Plan ahead.
“The time to decide to have an Uber come get you is not after you’ve had a couple of cocktails,” Bergenstock said.
Law enforcement officers will be out in full force this weekend looking for drunk drivers, reckless drivers and anyone who appears to be driving impaired. They can’t stress enough that people should not drink and drive.