Alcohol may have played a role in fatal wrong-way collision


CORNING, Calif. - The driver who died in a wrong way crash on Interstate 5 early Thursday morning south of Corning may have been under the influence of alcohol.

Tehama County Coroner's Office identified the 24-year-old man who died went by two names, Viera Fuentes or Christian Ivan. They also said his license was from Washington State.

California Highway Patrol said the wrong-way driver died after crashing into an oncoming semi-truck near Sour Grass Road south of Corning around 3:15 a.m.

Sgt. Saul Bernal with Red Bluff CHP said a green 2000 Honda Civic was heading south in the northbound lane on I-5.

64-year-old John Wahl of Redding was driving north in a FedEx semi-truck, trying to pass another semi, when he collided with the Honda Civic head-on.

The driver of the Civic died at the scene, while Wahl suffered no injuries.

CHP said they found alcohol in the Honda, so the are considering it a possible factor in the crash.

Wahl worked at the Redding FedEx, but was not there Thursday.

FedEx issued a statement confirming a FedEx truck was involved, and saying "Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those involved. We are cooperating with local officials as they investigate the accident."

A witness said she was dropping her friend off at the airport when she drove by the collision and watched Sheriff's cars zoom by.

Sumer Falls said she saw there was severe damage to the front of the car, and airbags were deployed.