Crime - Sacto 911

Suspected drunken driver going wrong-way slams into big rig on Highway 99

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No one was seriously injured Thursday night when a man driving the wrong way on Highway 99 slammed into a big rig at 47th Avenue in Sacramento.

Police believe the driver, Kevin Vanarkel, 36, was drunk when he entered the Capital City Freeway at 11:35 p.m. Thursday in the wrong direction from the T Street offramp, according to the California Highway Patrol. Vanarkel of Sacramento, drove southbound in the northbound fast lane before transitioning to Highway 99.

He continued southbound as motorists called the CHP communications center to report his wrong-way Toyota Prius. A CHP officer responding to the calls tried to stop Vanarkel north of 47th Avenue.

However, Vanarkel drove into the center median area and passed the patrol vehicle. Vanarkel then drove his car toward the slow lanes where he collided head-on with a big rig at 47th Avenue.

Vanarkel was taken to a hospital with moderate injuries, according to the CHP. The big rig driver was not injured.

An officer who spoke with him at the hospital suspected that Vanarkel was driving while intoxicated. Charges including driving under the influence are pending against him, according to the CHP.

Anyone who witnessed the incident is asked to call the California Highway Patrol at 916-861-1300.

Bill Lindelof: 916-321-1079, @Lindelofnews