Even as mourning continues for the family and friends of the Calexico woman killed by a wrong-way driver in El Centro on Jan. 7, the identity of the other driver remains unconfirmed, authorities said.
Andrea Hernandez, a 30-year-old mother of six, died at the scene on Interstate 8 near Dogwood Road when the sport-utility vehicle she was driving collided head-on with a van whose driver has only been identified as a 75-year-old South Carolina woman.
California Highway Patrol Officer Javier Amezcua explained in a phone interview on Jan. 11 the 75-year old driver was to have her fingerprints taken on Jan. 15 to verify her identity and then notify her next of kin prior to her identity being made public.
County Deputy Coroner Emanuel Ramirez said on Jan. 16 he had sent the fingerprints to the FBI to confirm a match.
Amezcua, meanwhile, recounted the frantic effort of Highway Patrol officers to prevent the fatal collision that occurred about 9:30 p.m. on Jan. 7 in the eastbound lanes of Interstate 8 just west of Dogwood Road. The wrong-way driver was heading west in the eastbound lanes.
After receiving a report of the wrong-way driver officers located the vehicle and attempted to alert the driver of the van by flashing emergency red and blue lights, noted Amezcua.
“They also shined a flashlight at her to get her attention, and she looked over but she didn’t seem to understand the officers were trying to warn of the danger. She was unaware that she was driving the wrong way,” he said.
“What we gathered at the scene was that no alcohol was involved and both drivers were wearing seat belts,” he said. “Until an autopsy is completed, we do not know if prescription drugs was a factor.”