REDDING, Calif. — According to a report by the California Highway Patrol, the woman facing murder and attempted murder charges after killing a man on Interstate 5 in early January admitted to investigators that she intentionally drove into oncoming traffic to try and kill herself.
The report stated that on January 7, Grace Elizabeth Ward intentionally drove her vehicle from the #1 lane of northbound I-5, just south of Knighton Road, into the center median where she collided with the cable barrier. After a failed attempt to break through the cable with her vehicle, Ward drove her vehicle through an opening in the cable, meant for emergency vehicles. Ward then stopped her vehicle, facing in a southwesterly direction between the northbound and southbound lanes.
Officials said Ward sat in the spot for seven minutes and 29 seconds before she accelerated her vehicle into oncoming traffic where she began traveling northbound in the southbound lanes.
Three vehicles managed to narrowly avoid collisions with Ward before she struck Ryan Folsom's vehicle. One driver said after making an initial attempt to avoid a collision with Ward's vehicle, Ward continued to attempt to hit their car so the driver steered even harder to avoid the collision.
Ward's vehicle eventually came to rest upside down in the center median after she struck Folsom's vehicle. Folsom's vehicle was sent into a ditch on the side of southbound I-5.
Investigators say when they arrived on scene they observed a cell phone on the ground outside of Ward's vehicle which was later determined to be the phone she used to call her mother prior to the crash. Ward said she called her mother to tell her about her intention to kill herself. Ward said she ended her conversation with her mother as she turned her vehicle and accelerated towards oncoming traffic.
Folsom succumbed to his injuries after being transported to Mercy Medical Center and Ward was treated for a broken leg.
Folsom was a husband, father, and aspiring doctor who was on his way to attend several interviews he had lined up for a residency as part of his training to become a doctor. Folsom left behind two sons, a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old, along with his wife who was expecting their third child in January.
Ward is now facing one count of second-degree murder, three counts of attempted murder, three counts of assault with a deadly weapon, and one count of vandalism.