Eliaquin Perez, a 31-year-old Gilroy man, died Friday after his vehicle was hit head-on by an 81-year-old driver on State Route 25 near the Canadero Bridge between Hollister and Gilroy.
Perez and his passenger, Freddy Perez, 27, also of Gilroy, were in their 1996 Plymouth heading south on SR 25 at 5:40 a.m. when an elderly Saratoga man in a 1995 Jeep driving north drifted across the double yellow lines and into the southbound lane, CHP Officer Erica Elias said in a prepared statement.
There was no time for Perez to swerve and avoid the collision.
Trailing behind Perez in the southbound lane were two more cars containing three three more Gilroy residents — two 29-year-old men and a 33-year-old woman. The drifting Jeep continued in the wrong lane, smashing into the two other cars as well, sending "all three vehicles ... into the bridge abutment," Elias said.
Eliaquin Perez was pronounced dead at the scene and his passenger was taken to the hospital with minor injuries. The wong-way driver also suffered minor injuries and was treated at the hospital.
According to Elias, alcohol is not believed to be a factor in the accident and all drivers and passengers were wearing seat belts. The road was closed for almost four hours after the accident, and the collision is still under investigation.