UPDATE: Two women killed in crash involving wrong-way driver on the 91 Freeway in Long Beach

Editor’s note: This story is updated with information about the drivers involved in the accident as well as additional details.

Two women were killed in a crash involving a wrong-way driver Sunday morning on the eastbound 91 (Artesia) Freeway in Long Beach.

The crash took place at the Atlantic Avenue on-ramp at about 5:20 a.m. and involved a vehicle driving westbound in an eastbound lane, the California Highway Patrol reported.

The two victims were pronounced dead at the scene and at least one vehicle caught fire, the CHP said. The wrong-way driver was a Palmdale resident driving a Honda, and the other driver was a Hemet resident driving a Chrysler, according to CHP. The identities of the drivers have not yet been released by authorities.

“Initial calls placed the [wrong-way] driver on SR-91 at I-5 freeway, State College Boulevard, and Beach; traveling at high rates of speed, some reporting up to 90 MPH,” CHP said in a statement.

CHP’s preliminary report suggests that the Honda driver was traveling westbound in the eastbound lanes of the 91 Freeway, east of the 710 Freeway, in the high occupancy vehicle lane (carpool lane), between 70 to 85 mph. Meanwhile, the Chrysler driver was traveling eastbound on the 91 Freeway, east of the 710, in the HOV lane at approximately 70 mph.

The Honda driver, who was traveling the wrong way, struck the Chrysler head on, which caused fatal injuries to both women. After the crash, both vehicles “came to rest” between the No. 1 and HOV lanes of 91 eastbound, CHP said.

A SigAlert was issued at 5:47 a.m. shutting down all eastbound 91 Freeway lanes, just west of Atlantic Avenue, as well as the transition road from the northbound 710 Freeway to the eastbound 91 Freeway. At 10:55 a.m., Caltrans reported that all lanes had reopened.

The collision is still under investigation by the CHP.

City News Service contributed to this story.

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Crystal Niebla is the West Long Beach reporter through the Report for America program. Philanthropic organizations pledged to cover the local donor portion of her grant-funded position with the Post. If you want to support Crystal's work, you can donate to her Report For America position at lbpost.com/support.
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