Wrong-way driver arrested after I-5 crash

Photo courtesy of CHP Northern Division Air Operations 

A McKinleyville woman was arrested after officials said she drove the wrong-way on I-5 and ran into another vehicle near Cottonwood.

The crash happened around 6 a.m. Wednesday north of Bowman Road.

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) said Andrea Bates, 38, of McKinleyvillle, was driving a 2006 gray Honda Accord southbound in the northbound lanes.

Bates was driving the wrong way from the Balls Ferry off ramp until north of Bowman Road, according to the CHP, where they said she crashed into a 2004 Hyundai two-door sports car, driven by Megan Mclaughlin, 33, of Cottonwood.

The CHP said Bates ran away from authorities into a cow pasture east of the Chevron station, and was finally caught after a K-9 and helicopter were deployed.

Mclaughlin was taken to the hospital with a broken leg, and Bates was taken into custody for felony DUI and felony hit-and-run, according to authorities.

Both vehicles suffered moderate damage.

McLaughlin was headed to Mercy Medical Center for clinicals, where she is a nursing student.

She underwent surgery Wednesday on her foot that doctors are calling "shattered".

She's worried it could impact whether she can finish her last semester of nursing school. On top of that, she's worried it could cause problems for her entire career as nurses spend so much time on their feet.

Megan's mother Janie McLaughlin said when she found out about the crash, she didn't know how to feel.

"I feel like the luckiest mom in the world, but I'm also sick inside over what could have, you know?" Janie said. "I just figure she must have a lot of angels watching over her because she told me she was doing 70, the speed limit, and there was another SUV in front of her and she said they hit their brakes real fast and swerved to the right lane and she didn't have time she had just enough time to try to swerve and that's when it hit her."

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