A wrong-way driver suspected of being under the influence caused a horrific head-on collision that killed a 26-year-old woman and seriously injured three others, including the allegedly impaired driver, on Highway 101 in Paso Robles early Wednesday morning, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Lindsay Faye Matzie, of Los Osos, who was driving the car that was hit, was pronounced dead at the scene and her two passengers were sent to different hospitals with injuries ranging from moderate to serious, CHP officials said Wednesday.
The suspected DUI driver, 22-year-old Paso Robles resident Lauren Allysa Aldrete, was later flown to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno with major injuries.
CHP Officer Patrick Seebart said that the agency received a report of a car traveling in the wrong direction on Highway 101 at about 3:10 a.m. Before officers could locate the vehicle, they were dispatched to a report of a two-car collision nearby.
According to CHP investigators, Aldrete was driving north in a southbound lane of Highway 101 near the Spring Street off-ramp when she collided head-on with a Toyota sedan driven by Matzie and carrying two passengers, both men, whose identities have not been released.
The city of Paso Robles said in a news release that Paso Robles Department of Emergency Services crews arrived at the scene within four minutes and found the two vehicles blocking the roadway, which was littered with debris over a 150-foot area.
Emergency crews found all four people trapped in their vehicles, and firefighters used hydraulic-powered rescue tools to extract them within 20 minutes, the city said. Paramedics then transported the two people with the most severe injuries — the wrong-way driver and one of the Toyota’s passengers — via ambulance to Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo. The passenger with moderate injuries was taken to Twin Cities Community Hospital in Templeton. Aldrete was later flown to Fresno.
The CHP said the Toyota passenger taken to Twin Cities was not wearing a seat belt.
The crash caused the closure of both southbound lanes of Highway 101, and traffic was rerouted through the city until about 6 a.m., when officials re-opened one southbound lane.
Aldrete is suspected of driving under the influence, Seebart said, and will be placed under arrest at the hospital but not booked into jail because of the severity of her injuries.
Matzie was a 2007 graduate of Morro Bay High School, according to Tribune archives.