FREMONT — A 21-year-old San Jose man was behind bars Wednesday after a five-vehicle Interstate 880 crash killed three people, including two children believed to be sisters, authorities said.
The Alameda County Coroner’s Office identified the victims as 9-year-old Brooke Limas and 14-year-old Christy Limas and 39-year-old Noelle Johnson, all of Manteca. Officials said the girls are thought to be sisters.
The California Highway Patrol identified San Jose resident Dang Nguyen Hai Tran as the driver of a Toyota Camry involved in the crash. Tran was arrested on suspicion of grievous vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving under the influence of marijuana and possession of a nightstick or other modified weapon, according to county records.
About 9:30 p.m., Tran’s Toyota was headed north on I-880 just south of Stevenson Boulevard when it veered left into another lane and struck a 2015 Cadillac Escalade, the CHP said.
The Cadillac overturned, sustaining major damage, and continued north before hitting a Toyota Corolla, which veered right and hit a 2013 Hyundai.
Johnson, the Limas sisters and a fourth person were ejected from the Escalade; preliminary information suggests none was wearing seatbelts, the CHP said.
Five other people, all younger than 18, were injured, including an infant in critical condition, and were taken to area hospitals.
CHP officers issued a Sig-alert at 9:49 p.m., shutting down all northbound I-880 lanes from Auto Mall Parkway to Stevenson Boulevard and the Stevenson on-ramp during an investigation. That alert was cancelled and lanes were reopened just before 6 a.m. Wednesday.
Officers with the CHP’s Hayward office and Golden Gate Division’s multi-disclipinary accident investigation team are working the inquiry.
Calls about a reckless, speeding driver preceded the crash, CHP Officer Manuel Leal said. That same person is suspected of causing the crash, he said.
“Marijuana is a drug, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while having marijuana in your system,” Leal said. “Driving under the influence, whether it’s alcohol or drugs, the outcome is the same. It’s dangerous. It kills people.”
CHP Golden Gate Division Chief Ernie Sanchez concurred, noting in a statement that current trends suggest Bay Area arrests for driving under the influence of marijuana will rise 70 percent by year’s end.
“Recreational use of marijuana may be legal, but driving under the influence of marijuana is not … and we continue to see the consequences,” Sanchez said in the statement. “Prevention and prosecution of driving under the influence of marijuana cannot be the CHP’s concern alone, it must become a priority for communities and governmental stakeholders alike.”
Tran was held at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin on Wednesday evening on $195,000 bail; he faces an arraignment hearing 2 p.m. Thursday at Dublin’s East County Hall of Justice, according to county records.