Wrong-way driver was drunk; Toxicology report confirms .29 blood alcohol level
Toxicology reports confirmed a Truckee man was under the influence of alcohol when he was killed while driving a car on the wrong side of Interstate 80 near Farad, according to the California Highway Patrol.
CHP officer Jay Carpenter said Nevada County’s Institute of Forensic Sciences reported 42-year-old Steve C. Stewart had a blood alcohol content of .29 – more than three times the legal limit – during the incident.
On April 28, Stewart was driving his Ford Tempo toward Reno in the westbound lanes of I-80 when he hit a Nissan Altima occupied by Kin Man Lee, 42, and Yean Chang Lim, 27, both of San Francisco.
Stewart was pronounced dead at the scene by fire and rescue personnel shortly after 4 a.m., while the victims were Careflighted to Washoe County Medical Center in Reno. Rescue personnel had to cut Lim from the passenger side of the vehicle.
Lim and Lee were later released from the medical center.
Several truck drivers reported seeing a vehicle traveling on the wrong side of the highway from the CHP weigh station in eastern Truckee, according to CHP reports. The report placed the car about five miles east of the scales near Farad.
Investigators believe Stewart’s car, while in the westbound lanes, hit the center divider before slamming into the Nissan. The victims were wearing safety belts and both airbags deployed, according to CHP reports. Stewart was wearing his shoulder harness.
It could not be determined by investigators where Stewart entered I-80. There are access roads at Floriston and Hirschdale.
The accident forced westbound I-80 to be closed between 4 and 6 a.m. at Gold Ranch in Verdi.
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