NEWHALL – A 54-year-old man believed to be high on meth drove his pickup truck in the wrong direction on the 14 Freeway Monday afternoon and caused a nine-vehicle collision that seriously injured a Lancaster resident and two Palmdale residents, authorities said.
The incident occurred around 4:35 p.m. Monday on the Antelope Valley (14) Freeway at Vasquez Rocks, according to a California Highway Patrol report.
Canyon Country resident Rick Allen Walker was driving his 1998 Dodge Ram pickup truck about 85 miles per hour when he entered the northbound lanes of the freeway, traveling southbound from Escondido Canyon, according to the CHP report.
Walker passed two CHP officers, who were working a traffic collision on the right shoulder, before crashing head on into a Dodge 2500 pickup truck, the CHP report states.
The Dodge 2500 pickup truck’s driver and his passenger sustained minor injuries, according to the report.
The crash started a started a chain reaction collision that involved a total of nine vehicles and left 13 people injured, according to the CHP report.
Fernando Lopez, 48, of Lancaster sustained major injuries, including a compound fracture to the left arm. Lopez was driving a 1998 Toyota Tacoma pickup truck.
Palmdale residents David Becker, 53, and Maryann Looram, 59, also sustained major injuries in the pileup. Both suffered broken backs and were transported to Henry Mayo Hospital.
Becker was driving a GMC Sonoma pickup truck and Looram was driving a 2001 Honda Accord.
Lancaster resident Myisha M. Hatfield complained of pain and sustained minor injuries in the collision, according to the CHP report. Hatfield,36, was driving a 2008 Infinity. All other injuries related to the collision were considered “minor,” the CHP report states.
Walker, the wrong way driver, sustained lacerations, and was transported to Antelope Valley Hospital for treatment. He is suspected of being under the influence of methamphetamine at the time of the collision, and he was arrested for driving under the influence of drugs and causing injury.
Once released from the hospital, Walker will be booked into L.A. County jail, the CHP report states.
The investigation is ongoing.