DUI driver goes wrong way on Cuesta Grade, leads CHP on hours-long chase

August 28, 2023


An allegedly intoxicated driver traveled up and down the Cuesta Grade in the wrong direction Saturday night, prior to heading over to the right side of Highway 101 and leading CHP officers on an approximately two-hour, 45-minute pursuit through San Luis Obispo and South County. 

While driving on southbound Highway 101 near the top of the Cuesta Grade at approximately 10:35 p.m., a CHP officer observed a three-axle flatbed truck traveling in the wrong direction. The truck was headed southbound in the northbound lanes directly adjacent to the officer, according to the CHP.

The officer sped ahead of the wrong-way driver and turned around at Monterey Street in order to create a traffic break in attempt to stop the truck. The attempt failed, and the driver continued heading southbound in the northbound lanes. 

Upon reaching the bottom of the Cuesta Grade, the driver turned and corrected his direction. He then began heading southbound in the southbound lanes. 

CHP officers overtook the suspect and tried a second time to stop the driver. The suspect did not yield, and a pursuit ensued. At least initially, the driver fled at speeds of about 10 mph or less.

Officers successfully deployed multiple spike strips, damaging the front tires of the suspect’s truck. The suspect turned around at Laetitia Vineyard in Arroyo Grande and proceeded to flee on northbound Highway 101. 

Due to the damaged front tires, the truck eventually stopped on northbound Highway 101 near Spyglass Drive. However, the suspect refused to exit the vehicle. 

Officers approached the vehicle and deployed pepper spray into the cab of the truck. After getting pepper sprayed, the man exited the truck with pruning shears in hand. He did not comply with officers’ orders. 

A CHP officer deployed a taser, after which officers took the suspect into custody without further incident. Authorities transported the man to the hospital. Upon his release from the hospital, officers booked the suspect in San Luis Obispo County Jail. 

Investigators later confirmed the truck the suspect was driving had been stolen. 

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Its a miracle the wrong way DUI driver didn’t injure or kill someone.