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Posted: Monday, May 1, 2006 10:00 pm

Two killed in Highway 12 wrong-way driver crash

A Lodi man was allegedly drunk and driving the wrong way with no headlights on when he collided with two vehicles near Tower Park on Sunday night, killing himself and another driver.

The 56-year-old man was driving a 2004 Dodge Stratus around 8:35 p.m. on Highway 12 west of Glasscock Road when motorists began calling the California Highway Patrol to report that he was traveling east in the west-bound lane.

The man sideswiped a westbound 1984 Nissan 300 ZX, then crashed head-on into a 2002 Mazda 626, the CHP reported. The 39-year-old male driver, of Brentwood, had minor injuries and his 26-year-old female passenger, also of Brentwood, was not injured.

The Mazda's Antioch driver, identified by the San Joaquin County Coroner's Office as Christopher Cox, was pronounced dead at the scene. He had just marked his 54th birthday a day earlier.

The Dodge's Lodi driver also died at the scene, but his name was not released because Coroner's deputies were still trying to notify family members Monday.

All four people were wearing seat belts and the two victim vehicles appeared to be traveling at the 55 mph speed limit, the CHP reported. The Dodge did not have its headlights on and investigators believe alcohol was involved.

The collision tied up traffic on Highway 12 and a warning sign was posted near Interstate 5.

Lodi resident Joe Wright was heading to work as an electrician on the graveyard shift at Anheuser-Busch in Fairfield when he found himself waiting in traffic. Officials cleared one lane and took turns letting traffic through from either side. Wright said the vehicles received major damage.

"People take a lot of risks on that road," he said of Highway 12, which is known for collisions.

First published: Tuesday, May 2, 2006

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