WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - Walnut Creek police have arrested a 35-year-old Tennessee woman on suspicion of DUI and vehicular manslaughter for a crash that killed one man and injured multiple others.
Police said Jessica Martin crashed into three cars driving on S. Broadway on Thursday, just north of Rudgear Road. Walnut Creek Police Lt. Joe Donleavy said they received multiple 911 calls around 6:30 p.m. The crash shut down the road for several hours.
"I've been an officer for 18 years, this may be the worst collision I've ever responded to," Lt. Joe Donleavy said on Friday. “Cars were almost unrecognizable as to the make and model. It almost looked like an explosion. That speaks to the significance of the forces involved here.”
He said investigators believe Martin was driving southbound on S. Broadway when she missed a curve and sideswiped one car, crashed into a second car, and hit a third car. All three cars were traveling northbound on S. Broadway.
The driver of the first car had to be extricated and is in the hospital with life threatening injuries. The driver of the second car, a man in his 40’s, was killed. His child is in the hospital with life threatening injuries. The driver of the third car suffered minor injuries and was transported to the hospital for treatment.
Martin suffered moderate injuries and was arrested at the hospital. She faces charges for felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter. A passenger in Martin’s car, a man from Los Angeles, suffered minor injuries. He is being questioned by authorities.
Donleavy said investigators have interviewed a number of witnesses to the crash, but they want anyone with information about Martin to come forward.
“We want to back track where Ms. Martin was coming from prior to the collision,” he said. “We’re trying to recreate the series of events throughout the day. Where she may have been. Where she may have been drinking. Who she may have been hanging out with.”
Donleavy said the accident is yet another reminder for people to not drink and drive.
“There’s no such thing as buzzed driving. It’s drunk driving. If you’ve had a couple of drinks, don’t drive,” he said. “This was an incredible tragedy and unfortunately this happens far too often.”
Anyone with information about where Martin was coming from prior to the crash is asked to contact Detective Sergeant Bruce Jower at 925-943-5899, ext. 3582 or firstname.lastname@example.org