Four people were killed in a wrong-way crash on northbound U.S. Highway 101 in San Francisco early Thursday morning. (Courtesy CHP)

Wrong-way driver suspected of DUI in collision that killed 4

Taxi driver and two passengers from Illinois are among the dead

A 34-year-old woman was allegedly driving under the influence early Thursday when her car collided with a taxi on a San Francisco highway and killed four people, including herself, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The woman, who was identified by the medical examiner as 34-year-old Emilie Ross, of Hillsborough, was driving the wrong way on Highway 101 shortly after midnight when her Volkswagen collided head-on with the taxi cab, the CHP said.

The collision killed the woman as well as the cab driver, and his two passengers. They have been identified by the medical examiner as 42-year-old Berkant Ahmed of San Mateo, 57-year-old Mary Miller from Chicago, Illinois and 62-year-old man Judson Bergman from Chicago, Illinois.

“It’s really sad. It could happen to any one of us,” said Barry Taranto, a local taxi driver who also sits on the board of the Taxi Workers Alliance, a group that advocates for drivers. “Where it happened, you can’t see cars coming from the other direction because of the hill.”

The cab was heading north toward downtown San Francisco and had just passed Paul Avenue when the collision occurred, according to the CHP.

One of the taxi passengers was ejected and authorities are investigating whether the Volkswagen driver and one of the passengers were wearing seat belts, the CHP said.

Taranto said other San Francisco taxi drivers have been killed in wrong-way collisions, a frequent hazard for those driving during bar hours.

The incident marked the 25th wrong-way driver collision in the Bay Area so far this year, the CHP said. Ten of those collision have resulted in a total of 19 deaths, and 18 of the collisions involved a driving who was impaired.

“This is a problem that is affecting the entire Bay Area,” CHP Golden Gate Division Chief Ernie Sanchez said in a statement. “Rest assured that the California Highway Patrol will continue to proactively patrol and enforce laws pertaining to DUI and will also continue to work closely with our stakeholders, to include Caltrans, in order to identify and improve the potential on and off ramps where motorists are entering freeways traveling in the wrong direction.”

Sanchez also said the CHP is working with law enforcement “to prevent motorists from entering freeways from city streets, while driving in the wrong direction.”

“We are in direct communication with the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office to ensure that drivers who choose to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and hurt or kill others, are prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” Sanchez said.

The crash initially closed all northbound lanes of the highway but the left lanes reopened by about 4:50 a.m., and all lanes reopened around 7 a.m.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

mbarba@sfexaminer.com

joe@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsCrimesan francisco news

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Sergeant cleared in shooting of man on meth ‘rampage’

A San Francisco police sergeant has been cleared of criminal wrongdoing for… Continue reading

Protected bike lane, safety measures proposed for dangerous stretch of Folsom Street

Folsom Street between Second and Fifth streets has been the site of… Continue reading

Giants to host first leg of Bay Bridge Series

Among the changes made to the Major League Baseball schedule this year… Continue reading

Heat wave expected to hit the Bay Area this weekend

Much of the Bay Area and Monterey Bay region will face excessive… Continue reading

California’s eviction ban is ending. Gov. Newsom and lawmakers have 3 weeks to extend it

California Gov. Gavin Newsom and state lawmakers face an 18-day deadline to… Continue reading

Most Read