CHP: 3 dead in Fremont crash, 4 ejected weren't wearing seatbelts

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Three people died and five people were injured in a multi-car collision Tuesday night in Fremont in a case where the driver was under the influence of marijuana, according to the California Highway Patrol. 

CHP said four passengers were ejected into the roadway in the accident. Only one of them survived. "It does not appear that they were wearing their seatbelts," CHP said in a statement on Wednesday. 

"Driving under the influence of marijuana is just as bad as driving under the influence of alcohol," CHP Officer Manuel Leal said.

The driver of a Toyota Camry, identified by the CHP as Dang Nguyen Hai Tran, 21, of  San Jose, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of marijuana, gross vehicular manslaughter and possession of an illegal weapon. He was booked into the Santa Rita County Jail on $195,000 bail. His first court appearance is scheduled for Thursday afternoon. 

The Alameda County Coroner identified the victims as Manteca residents Noelle Johnson, 39, Christy Limas, 14 and Brooke Limas, 9. The woman who was killed has not yet been identified. They were in a white Cadillac Escalade, where five other passengers were injured, the CHP said. Four of those five were children. 

The collision was reported by multiple people at about 9:30 p.m. on Highway 880 at Stevenson Boulevard, CHP Officer Damian Cistaro said.  Some witnesses said they saw the Camry speeding and swerving. The crash shut down the freeway for nearly eight hours, finally reopening about 6 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Officials said the Escalade sustained major roll-over damage before colliding with a Toyota Corolla. 

In a Facebook post, CHP Golden Gate Division Chief Ernie Sanchez made a point to underscore the fact that just because recreational use of marijuana may be legal, "driving under the influence of marijuana is NOT….and we continue to see the consequences.”

The CHP said that compared to 2017 statistics, DUI-marijuana arrests in the Bay Area will be up by 70 percent by the end of 2018, if the current trend continues.