Deputy chase of driver ends in major injury wrong-way crash in Orinda

A driver allegedly trying to escape from police traveled the wrong way on Highway 24 and crashed head-on into another vehicle, causing serious injuries.

The chase started when Contra Costa County deputies spotted a stolen car and tried to stop it on Highway 242 around 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, the county sheriff's office said. 

The pursuit continued onto I-680 and Highway 24 before briefly exiting onto Acalanes Road where the suspect allegedly fled on foot but quickly returned to the stolen car and sped off onto Highway 24, the sheriff's office said.

But when the driver, identified as 35-year-old Jesus Valdez of Oakland, got back onto Highway 24, he drove the wrong-way in the eastbound lanes and smashed into another vehicle, authorities said. 

The crash happened on Highway 24 between Hidden Valley Road and St. Stephens Drive in Orinda around 7 p.m., according to California Highway Patrol spokesman Adam Lane.

The drivers of both cars suffered major injuries, Lane said. Both were hospitalized.

Valdez was arrested for allegedly possessing a stolen vehicle, possessing stolen property, reckless evading, evading police causing injury, evading police by driving in the opposite direction and having a warrant for drug trafficking.