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Wrong-way driver arrested, 1 driver hurt after fiery crash on Interstate 15 in Fallbrook

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Posted at 2:28 PM, Jun 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-04 17:28:04-04

FALLBROOK, Calif. (KGTV) -- A car burst into flames after it was struck head-on by a vehicle traveling in the wrong direction on Interstate 15 in the Fallbrook area early Friday morning.

The two-vehicle crash happened just after 4 a.m. on the northbound side of I-15 near Mission Road, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The CHP said a 2014 Audi, for reasons under investigation, was going southbound in the northbound fast lane when it collided with a 2013 Toyota head-on. Moments later, the Toyota caught fire.

Some drivers who witnessed the crash stopped and pulled the driver out of the burning vehicle, ABC 10News learned. The Toyota's driver, a 46-year-old man from Chula Vista, was rushed to the hospital with major injuries.

Meanwhile, CHP officers at the scene told the 10News Breaking News Tracker the wrong-way driver explained to officers that he was coming from the Los Angeles area and thought he was on Interstate 5 in Encinitas.

The wrong-way Audi's driver -- identified by the CHP as 28-year-old James Connor McFarland, from Cardiff -- was arrested on suspicion of DUI and booked on felony charges.

McFarland suffered minor injuries from the incident.

In a news release issued Friday afternoon, CHP officials confirmed that “alcohol is suspected to be a factor in this traffic collision.”

The collision forced the closure of multiple lanes on both sides of I-15 in the crash area.