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Wrong way driver kills four on 99
highway 99

A wrong way driver on Highway 99 near French Camp Road early Friday morning triggered a series of accidents that resulted in four deaths and sent one motorist to the hospital with major injuries.

According to the California Highway Patrol, the incident occurred shortly after midnight on Friday morning when a driver behind the wheel of a 2017 Honda that that had previously been involved in a hit and run accident – disabling their headlights – started driving in the wrong direction in the southbound lanes of Highway 99 just north of Lathrop Road.

The first vehicle that was struck, a 2020 Subaru, was carrying three people – including a 19-year-old from Pasco, WA and a 20-year-old from Sacramento.

That vehicle was spun into another vehicle being driven by Peter Laidlaw, a 40-year-old resident of Grass Valley that was driving a 2020 GMC.

After crashing into the GMC, the Subaru was then redirected back into the No. 1 lane of traffic – facing the wrong way – where it was struck head-on by a 2004 Chevrolet driven by 40-year-old Nicholas Craggs of Stockton.

The collision between the Subaru and the Chevrolet resulted in the death of all three passengers in the Subaru and resulted in major injuries for Craggs – who was ultimately arrested for driving under the influence. Craggs was transported to San Joaquin County General Hospital where he will be treated for his injuries.

The driver of the wrong-way vehicle was not identified by CHP officials, and was listed only as a 32-year-old female from Stockton.

 She was killed after crashing into the Subaru – forcing that vehicle to crash into a third vehicle before spinning around and coming to rest the wrong direction where it was struck head-on by a fourth vehicle.

All three occupants of the Subaru were pronounced dead. Only the driver of the third vehicle, Laidlaw, did not suffer injuries in the chain-reaction collision.

Alcohol is suspected to be a cause in the crash – both in the case of the driver that started the chain reaction, that was killed, and in the case of Craggs who struck the Subaru head-on.

According to authorities, the driver of the 2017 Honda that initiated the chain-reaction crash was headed northbound on Highway 99 when she slammed into the back of a flatbed trailer being towed by a U-Haul truck – forcing the U-Haul to collide with a tractor trailer that was traveling alongside.

 It was at that point that the driver made a U-turn in the Honda – without headlights – and started the wrong direction in the southbound lanes where she would ultimately collide with the Subaru and start the series of events that resulted in four deaths.

Anyone with information about the crash is encouraged to contact the California Highway Patrol at 209.938.4800.

To contact Bulletin reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.