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Woman killed in wrong-way crash on I-5 identified

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CORNING, Calif. - The woman killed on I-5 Monday night after being hit head-on by an intoxicated wrong-way driver has been identified by the Butte County Coroner's Office as Barbara Bernard, 81, from Shasta Lake City.

The California Highway Patrol said they received reports of a wrong-way driver on the freeway at approximately 7:52 p.m. near Corning Road. Minutes later, they were told that the drive has collided head-on with an oncoming car, south of Corning Road.

The CHP said Karen Rojas, 57, of Corning was driving under the influence of drugs. She was driving south in the northbound lane when she collided with Bernard, who was driving a 2018 Kia Optima.

Officials said both vehicles sustained major damage and both women were trapped inside, with major injuries. Rojas was transported to St. Elizabeth Hospital in Red Bluff before being transported to U.C. Davis Medical Center. Bernard was transported to Enloe Medical Center in Chico where she died.

Rojas was arrested for driving while under the influence of drugs, causing injury to another, and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. She was temporarily released from custody for treatment of her injuries.

Wednesday, U.C. Davis Medical Center said Rojas is in fair condition.

The southbound lanes of I-5 were closed for approximately 30 minutes and the northbound lanes were blocked for approximately an hour.

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