Police Chase Big Rig Going in Wrong Direction on Highway for an Hour Before Shooting Driver

A driver was fatally shot by police Wednesday during a wrong-way chase along a California freeway.

The man led police the wrong way on Interstate 10 in a stolen truck, according to the Associated Press. After roughly an hour of following the vehicle, officers were able to get in front of it and set up a roadblock.

But the driver continued to move head-on toward law enforcement, which is when a member of the California Highway Patrol began to fire gunshots. The driver was pronounced dead on Interstate 10 in Fontana, said CHP Officer Ramon Duran.

No officers were injured in the incident, the AP reported. The victim has not yet been identified.

Authorities also told the AP there was a passenger in the truck. The passenger, who also remains unidentified, received treatment for minor injuries likely caused by broken glass and was in custody.

San Bernardino police sergeant John Echevarria told the AP that the vehicle had been reported stolen at 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday. The highway shooting took place at 1:15 a.m. Wednesday morning.

KCBS-TV reported that the highway pursuit started at 11:47 p.m. Tuesday when the stolen "flatbed truck" was spotted near the 215 freeway.

"It's extremely dangerous. We're not talking about a small vehicle, we're talking about a big rig. What could have happened could have been catastrophic," Duran told KCBS.

The exact circumstances of the shooting are unclear. Newsweek reached out to the CHP for additional information but didn't receive a response before publication.

Interstate 10 was closed in both directions after the shooting. All westbound lanes were reopened shortly after 5:30 a.m. local time, KABC-TV reported, but eastbound lanes remained closed as authorities investigated.

The Twitter account INLANDNEWS, which is run by a video journalist covering Southern California, tweeted a picture of traffic building up on both sides of the highway early Wednesday morning.

Both directions of the 10 freeway are shut down at Sierra in #Fontana for an officer involved shooting after a #pursuit Freeway closed for the next several hours. pic.twitter.com/yaILp3ah86

— INLANDNEWS (@INLANDNEWS) June 23, 2021

The CHP recently partnered with 11 other highway patrols in a traffic safety campaign against speeding.

The agency said that more than 500 people were killed and thousands injured in California last year in crashes caused by unsafe speed. In 2020, CHP officers issued more than 28,00 speeding citations to drivers going more than 100 miles per hour.

"Excessive speed and unsafe driving are a threat to everyone on the roadway," CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray said in a statement. "The CHP and our allied state partners will be out in force this weekend with the common goal of saving lives through speed enforcement."

Police Chase Truck Driving in Wrong Direction
A California Highway Patrol cruiser waits to lead motorists on as construction workers remove barricades on Interstate 405 in Los Angeles on July 17, 2011. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images