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24-year-old Stanford University student accused of DUI in fatal Hwy 101 crash

According to a California Highway Patrol officer, a 24-year-old Stanford University student, who caused a fatal wrong-way crash in South San Francisco early Saturday morning, is still in the hospital. One man died and two others were injured in the crash.

California Highway Patrol Officer Mike Ferguson said that on Saturday at around 3:50 am, Zachary Katz was taken into custody after he drove his vehicle the wrong way onto southbound U.S. Highway 101 near Sierra Point Parkway and collided with an SUV taxicab. The taxi then veered across several lanes of traffic and was hit by a Mazda. The wrong-way driver then struck a taxi cab head-on.

The California Highway patrol said that a passenger in the taxi, 62-year-old Pedro Soldevila, was pronounced dead at the accident spot. The taxi driver, 31-year-old Azmach Ejersa of Emeryville and a second passenger were taken to the hospital as they suffered life-threatening injuries in the crash. The driver of the Mazda was not harmed in the crash.

Ferguson said, “As far as we know, the two passengers that were in the taxi were not belted in. At least one of them was completely ejected from the vehicle; he died at the scene. There was another passenger that was in the taxi that was severely injured”.

Cory Zimmerman, a witness said, “It was the most intense accident I’ve ever seen. I’ve lived here for all my life”. He and his friend Sten Dubin took photos of the accident scene. Dubin said, “People were coming out of their cars asking questions. They didn’t tell us anything, just keep back, it’s going to be couple hours, just get back in your cars, and wait it out”. They both themselves were actually in a cab returning from a class reunion. “It’s crazy, I mean, it could’ve been us. We were in the back of a taxi cab. It reinforces our decision to not to drive home since we’d had some drinks and take the safe way home in the cab,” said Zimmerman.

The taxi which was struck is owned by National and Veterans Cab of San Francisco. The president of the company told ABC7 News that he is devastated by the incident.

Katz was taken into custody for charges related to driving under the influence and taken to San Francisco General Hospital with life-threatening injuries. The California Highway patrol is awaiting medical clearance from doctors to take him to the jail and lock up and send the case to the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office.

Katz is not likely to be released before the weekend.

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