Sacto 9-1-1
October 17, 2013
Ask Sacto 911 crime Q&A: Were charges filed against wrong-way driver in fatal I-5 crash?

Bee reporters answer questions about area crime news, trends and other issues.

QUESTION: What was the name of the wrong-way driver in the fatal collision June 20 on Interstate 5, and have charges been filed?
Submitted by: L. Gibson, Sacramento

ANSWER: Jefferson Cortez was identified as the driver of a vehicle that was traveling southbound in the northbound lanes of Interstate 5 near Del Paso Boulevard about 1:30 a.m. when his car struck two other vehicles, according to California Highway Patrol spokeswoman Officer Lizz Dutton.

Sanching Saetern, 23, of Sacramento, the driver of a Toyota Corolla that was struck by Cortez's vehicle, died at the scene. A family in a sport-utility vehicle suffered minor injuries.

Dutton said the CHP recommended charging Cortez with DUI resulting in death, gross vehicular manslaughter, driving the wrong way on a divided highway causing death, possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia and being under the influence of methamphetamine.

According to Sacramento Superior Court online records, Cortez, 26, has a history of offenses dating back to 2008. He has been charged in this case with murder, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs with injury, and import, sale or transportation of a controlled substance. He is being held in Sacramento County Jail without bail, and his next court date is Nov. 5..

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