Three people were killed in a multi-vehicle crash on a highway in California late Tuesday night, authorities said.
The California Highway Patrol (CHP) said that the deadly crash was caused by a driver who was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of marijuana.
That driver was piloting a Toyota Camry, reported KTVU.
“Driving under the influence of marijuana is just as bad as driving under the influence of alcohol,” CHP Officer Manuel Leal said.
Officers told ABC 7 that the driver was driving recklessly and speeding when the crash occurred. The identity of the person arrested has not been released, including the person’s age.
The crash killed a mother, teenager, and child, and left five other passengers injured, four of which were children.
Many or all of the killed and injured persons were inside of a white Cadillac Escalade. Video footage from the scene showed the Cadillac with severe damage, with the entire back-half appearing considerably smashed as if it were hit from the side. ABC 7 described the vehicles as “decimated,” with “their exteriors shredded by the crash.”
Officers rushed to the scene on the northbound side of I-880 in Fremont, shutting down all lanes for around eight hours until the vehicles could be removed and everyone involved was taken to a hospital or elsewhere.
The crash took place just before 10 p.m. PT. All northbound lanes did not re-open until 6 a.m. Wednesday, reported NBC, with as many as eight vehicles reportedly involved in the crash.
Drivers under the influence of marijuana have become a focus of policymakers, especially in states where marijuana has been legalized, such as Colorado and California, reported NPR.
In a report submitted to Congress (pdf) by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2017, it was noted that research on the effects of marijuana use on driving has shown that smoking marijuana affects a number of driving-related skills.
For instance, being “high” can result in slow reaction time, such as responding to a need for emergency braking. It can also result in impaired cognitive performance and impaired executive functions, including poor route planning, decision making, and risk-taking.