Driver charged with murder in wrong way fatal crash

A Santa Clarita woman has been charged with murder more than a week after causing a fatal wrong-way crash on the 210 freeway in Claremont.

Nicole Thibault, 28, has been charged with 14 counts in total—one count of murder, one count of grand theft, six counts of attempted murder and six counts of assault with a deadly weapon, according to a release from the LA County District Attorney’s Office.

Ms. Thibault is scheduled to make an appearance at the Foltz Criminal Justice Center on February 16. Her bail is set at $8 million.

Ms. Thibault is accused of stealing a silver Ford F-150 while the driver was at a 7-Eleven in San Bernardino on January 22. A two-year-old boy was in the truck at the time, and Ms. Thibault dropped him off on the side of the road before fleeing, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Rodrigo Jimenez.

Prosecutors allege Ms. Thibault drove on the wrong side of the freeway for 20 miles, driving westbound on the eastbound lanes before swerving into oncoming traffic just before the Mills Avenue overpass and colliding with several cars.

Daniel Castillo, a 69-year-old man from Fontana, died at the scene. Six other victims suffered injuries, the DA’s Office said.

The accident shut down the eastbound side of the 210 freeway for hours, trapping motorists during rush hour and forcing them to find alternate routes on Claremont side streets.

Ms. Thibault suffered “major injuries” and was transported to Pomona Valley Medical Center for treatment, Officer Jimenez said.

She faces a maximum of 57 years to life in state prison if convicted, the DA’s Office said.

Matthew Bramlett

news@claremont-courier.com

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