A 19-year-old San Jose woman died and three other people were injured early Wednesday in a fiery solo-vehicle crash on Highway 1 near Morrissey Boulevard.
Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Ashley Keehn identified the victim as Alyssa Roman.
Richard Quihuis Jr., 19, of San Jose, led California Highway Patrol officers on a high-speed chase south on Highway 1 toward Santa Cruz around 1:45am, CHP officer Alyssa Gutierrez said. Quihuis tried to drive his white 2004 Toyota Camry onto the Morrissey Boulevard off-ramp, but instead slammed into a concrete curb, pitched forward and collided with a metal guardrail.
CHP officers pulled two of Quihuis’s passengers from the wreckage, including Roman, who was pronounced dead at the scene.
Gutierrez said the two passengers were 20-year-old Kenny Tran and a 17-year-old female, both of San Jose.
Quihuis was taken to nearby Dominican Hospital for minor injuries and was arrested for felony DUI, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, felony hit-and-run, and felony evading a peace officer, Gutierrez said. He was booked into Santa Cruz County Jail on a $150,000 bail.
Gutierrez said CHP officers initially spotted a Camry traveling at a high speed on southbound Highway 1 early Wednesday near Dimeo Lane several miles north of Santa Cruz.
“Officers attempted to make an enforcement stop on the Toyota as it continued at a high rate of speed southbound on Mission Street,” Gutierrez said.
Santa Cruz Police then spotted the Toyota as it sped through Santa Cruz. Additional CHP units also saw the Toyota on southbound Highway 1 at Highway 9 and attempted to initiate an enforcement stop.
The Toyota driver failed to yield to those officers as well, and continued above the speed limit southbound on Highway 1 north of Morrissey Boulevard, where Quihuis eventually crashed.
About 20 feet of guardrail was mangled at the on-ramp.
The incident is still under investigation.