Police said a small amount of suspected methamphetamine was found inside the vehicle of the man who apparently caused the accident that killed three people Tuesday night in a head-on collision in Glenn County.
The California Highway Patrol confirmed Wednesday that a small quantity of what is believed to be methamphetamine was located in the car driven by Orland’s Erik Ortega.
Ortega, 26, was pronounced dead at the scene on Old Highway 99W just north of County Road 39, the CHP reported.
Two woman were also killed in the head-on collision and a third remains hospitalized.
Melissa Marie Ellithorp, 20, of Willows, and Nicolina Joann Milani, 19, of Glenn, were pronounced dead at the scene, the CHP reported.
Ellithorpe was celebrating her 20th birthday, family told investigators.
Emily Denise Ellithorp, 31, was taken by helicopter to Enloe Medical Center in Chico with major injuries. She was listed in serious condition Wednesday afternoon, a hospital spokeswoman said.
CHP Officer Paul Burns said toxicology tests will determine if Ortega was under the influence at the time of the crash. Result could take several weeks to process.
“It’s being looked into,” Burns said.
Ortega was driving a 1991 Ford Taurus south on the highway around 9:30 p.m. and apparently let his car drift into the northbound lane where it collided with a 2007 Hyundai Elantra driven by Melissa Ellithorp, the CHP reported.
Emily Ellithorp and Milani were passengers in the Hyundai, the CHP said.