Wrong-way driver dies 13 days after Carmel Valley crash that killed 1, injured 3 others

Gregory Byrd, a resident of Mobile, Alabama, died nearly two weeks after the June 1 crash that also killed Long Beach resident Lorena Higuera


A 43-year-old Alabama man died Sunday, June 13, in a San Diego hospital, 13 days after he caused a wrong-way collision that killed a woman on Interstate 5 in Carmel Valley.

Light file photo
(File photo)

Gregory Wayne Byrd was gravely injured in the early morning June 1 crash, and his condition worsened until his death Sunday night at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla, according to the county Medical Examiner’s Office.

Byrd, a resident of Mobile, is the second person to die as a result of the crash. Lorena Higuera, a 52-year-old Long Beach resident, died at the scene of the collision, which occurred around 12:50 a.m.

According to the California Highway Patrol and Medical Examiner’s Office, Byrd was driving a Dodge Magnum north in southbound lanes of I-5 when he struck a Honda Civic head on.

After the initial collision, a Ford pickup heading south crashed into the Dodge, CHP Officer Salvador Castro said.

Higuera, the front-seat passenger in the Honda, died instantly, according to the Medical Examiner’s Office. The driver of that car and a second passenger sustained major injuries, as did Byrd and the driver of the Ford pickup. Medics took all four to hospitals for treatment.

The crash that killed Byrd and Higuera — both died from multiple blunt force injuries, according to the Medical Examiner’s Office — was the first of three wrong-way collisions in four days on San Diego freeways.

Early in the morning on June 4, a 28-year-old Cardiff man driving the wrong way on Interstate 15 caused a head-on crash in Fallbrook that seriously injured a 46-year-old Chula Vista man. CHP officers arrested the wrong-way driver, who sustained minor injuries, on suspicion of driving under the influence.

Later that same day, 58-year-old Ramona resident Sandra Daniels was driving the wrong way on I-5 in San Ysidro when her sedan slammed head on into an unmarked San Diego police sedan driven by homicide Detective Ryan Park, 32, and his wife, Detective Jaime Huntley-Park, 33. All three died at the scene.

— Alex Riggins is a reporter for The San Diego Union-Tribune