Speed, Alcohol Factors in String of Deadly Crashes on Highway 101 in Santa Clara

Excessive speed played a role in three deadly crashes on a small stretch on Highway 101 in Santa Clara, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The fatal collisions all occurred within a week and police said alcohol played a role in at least two of the accidents. The location of the collisions, between Lawrence Expressway and Great America Parkway, appears to be a coincidence, CHP said.

"What they are sharing, based on preliminary investigation, is excessive speed and probability of use of alcohol and failure to wear seat belts properly," CHP Officer Ross Lee said.

The most recent crash was reported Wednesday night on Northbound 101, just north of Great America Parkway. In that collision, police said a speeding BMW flipped five times, killing a passenger and seriously injuring the driver.

The driver, 42-year-old Stephen Hunt of Sunnyvale, was arrested at the hospital on suspicion of driving under the influence.

A day before Hunt's crash, a motorcyclist was killed at the same spot on Highway 101 while trying to pass a big rig, police said.

The other deadly collision was reported last Friday when a 30-year-old Sunnyvale woman was killed in a crash at the Lawrence Expressway off ramp. Police said the car the woman was riding in ran off the road and flipped over.

Police said the driver of that car also faces DUI charges.

CHP said there is nothing that appears to make the stretch of Highway 101 any more dangerous than any other parts of the freeway.

"Any time that anybody's going to be traveling on the roadways we have a concern about speed, alcohol and observance of the traffic laws we typically enforce," Lee said.

Some drivers said they often see others speeding on the freeway, especially late at night.

"I've noticed that when there's less people out, even I will start speeding, you're not even thinking about it," Santa Clara-resident Robert Anderson said.

Contact Us