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Wrong-Way Driver Causes Crash on 101

San Diego man driving south in the northbound lane arrested on suspicion of DUI after striking a Petaluma woman who was heading north.

A wrong-way driver suspected of driving drunk caused a head-on collision early Christmas morning on Highway 101 between Novato and Petaluma, the California Highway Patrol said.

A 58-year-old Petaluma woman sustained moderate injuries when her northbound car struck the wrong-way driver coming southbound in the northbound lanes at 4:06 a.m, according to CHP Sgt. Kevin Briggs.

The crash took place just south of the Redwood Landfill, about 2 1/2 miles north of the Novato city limits. The wrong-way driver, identified as Champin Chen, 30, of San Diego, suffered minor injuries. The other driver, Janice Morante of Petaluma, had injuries described as moderate.

Both drivers were able to get out of their vehicles on their own, Novato Fire District Battalion Chief Gerald McCarthy said. They were transported to Marin General Hospital.

After the collision in the No. 1 northbound lane, Morante's 2004 Nissan careened into the grass and hit the center divider. Chen's 2008 Mazda ended up straddling the right shoulder and the slow lane.

Chen was subsequently arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, Briggs said.

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Michael D. Levine December 25, 2012 at 05:20 PM
When will Americans stop drinking and driving? It is unacceptable, immoral, and deadly!
Victor Kunkel December 25, 2012 at 05:37 PM
There is a European county, perhaps Sweden (?) where there is no second chance. One conviction and the driver's license is taken for life. Time for America to take stands on many things and this should be first. Driving after drinking is just plain stupid.....
Sandi Melia December 25, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Now take her car & her freedom & THROW AWAY THE KEYS TO BOTH! Enough of this nonsense already!
arthur javier December 25, 2012 at 06:26 PM
Sad to hear an innocent driver gets hurt due to people who drink. I agree with previous comment, one DUI and license must be revoked. So many cases where loved ones are hurt or loose their lives because of drunk drivers, some are even repeat offenders...
Jerome J Ghigliotti Jr December 25, 2012 at 06:31 PM
"many people drive without a license", exactly correct. You must take away their motor vehicles. The Sacramento social engineers have not gotten around to passing a law that anyone convicted of DUI would have the vehicle that they were driving, whether it belonged to them or someone else, sold at auction. THAT would stop drunk driving. You elected them. I did not.
Jerome J Ghigliotti Jr December 25, 2012 at 06:35 PM
30 years old. The article does not include how many prior DUI convictions this person had. It must be at least two. Alcoholism is a disease. It cannot be treated by rehabilitation or punishment. Alcoholics driving motor vehicles are like Typhoid Mary, they kill and maime wherever they go. TAKE AWAY THEIR CARS.
Brent Ainsworth (Editor) December 25, 2012 at 06:55 PM
That information isn't available on a deadline story like this, Jerome. Usually it's the DA's office that has that info. DA personnel aren't quite as available 24-7 than the PD, CHP & sheriff.
Jane White December 26, 2012 at 01:53 AM
I always have wondered why SoCal people add "the" to the names of of numbered highways...
Andrew Haynes December 26, 2012 at 03:48 AM
We eliminate it because it's unnecessary and always has been. Ask them why they do it that way down south.
Jerome J Ghigliotti Jr December 26, 2012 at 04:38 AM
Ask every assemblyman and state senator, directly, if he drives drunk; and if not why will he not pass meaningful DUI laws. BTW, citizen initiatives have been made illegal by the Novato City Council and Marin Judge Duryee.
Lisa December 26, 2012 at 06:15 AM
Tomato...tomatoe!!!
Jerome J Ghigliotti Jr December 26, 2012 at 09:33 AM
They do it as a warning that we should put our wallets in our front pockets.
Jerome J Ghigliotti Jr December 26, 2012 at 09:54 AM
Actually, many Chinese illegal immigrants come into the United States of America enter through Mexico. Since we have no immigration policy nor any laws that are enforced, once someone from China or elsewhere enters the US, they have all the rights that anyone born here does. So they would qualify as "American". A friend of mine moved from Chula Vista to Jamul because she got tired of illegal aliens running through her back yard every night.
GR December 26, 2012 at 01:14 PM
I believe elderly people should have their vehicles taken away as well then. If we are going to start taking away cars based on assumption than I'd assume all old folk are incapable of driving. Thank goodness we don't live in that kind of society, yet.
Craig Belfor December 26, 2012 at 03:19 PM
It's Sweden where one infraction lands you in jail for a year and you never drive again. That plus siezure and auction of the car, regardless of ownership (unless stolen), would help curb the problem.
Jerome J Ghigliotti Jr December 26, 2012 at 03:30 PM
@GR, I believe that people aged 65 and older should have an eye and road test every year to confirm their ability to drive, NOT just take licenses without justification, as you suggest. We live in the kind of society where someone who fails a driving test will contact their assemblyman and claim that they were the victim of discrimination, and then the terser is disciplined and the re-tester is afraid to fail the incompetent. I know of one such case from the mouth of a SF DMV tester.
Craig Belfor December 26, 2012 at 03:42 PM
This reminds me of the story of the 90 year old man driving home when his daughter calls him and warns him of a driver going the wrong way on the freeway. He replies " One only? Hell, they all are!"
Sandi Melia December 26, 2012 at 03:51 PM
@ Old N. Grouchy, EXCUSE ME I did read the entire article, all be it without my reading glasses on & quickly. I NEVER SAID JANICE, I miistook Champin Chin 30 of San Diego for a woman! I neither lied or anything else. I made a simple mistake. Male or female my opinion is unchanged. You are Old N. Grouchy! If I had told the whole of what I was thinking I would have mentioned that my best friend lost her father on that same stretch of road ,for the same reason 35 yrs ago! You are not the only Grouchy one, I am pissed off & sick of DRUNK DRIVERS. I think your anger is misplaced, what my comment hit a lil close to hm? You retread the article! Dah.
Sandi Melia December 26, 2012 at 04:04 PM
P.S. Reading back tru the comments I see many people were missing the part about DUI. I don't care if the driver is Male or Female, DUI's oft leave innocent people dead.
Sandi Melia December 26, 2012 at 04:05 PM
Sorry, not funny.
Novato man December 26, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Countries like Sweden provide highly efficient public transportation for all, among all sorts of other social services that they their citizens benefit from. So people will have the means of getting from here to there with or without a license. In the US unfortunately social services are not exactly abundant, and the measly bit that is out there is getting cut by day. If the US wants to take a stand on anything, it's long past the time to address the gun issue.
Novato man December 26, 2012 at 04:33 PM
Countries like Sweden provide highly efficient public transportation for all, among all sorts of other social services that they their citizens benefit from. So people will have the means of getting from here to there with or without a license. In the US unfortunately social services are not exactly abundant, and the measly bit that is out there is getting cut by day. If the US wants to take a stand on anything, it's long past the time to address the gun issue.

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