An Orland man was high on drugs when he crashed his vehicle into an oncoming car April 5, killing himself and two others on rural Glenn County highway.
Toxicology results released Tuesday show Erik Ortega was under the influence of methamphetamine at the time of the crash, and the California Highway Patrol now believes that Ortega’s intoxication was the primary cause of the fatal wreck, Officer Rodney Pozzi said Tuesday.
Investigators recovered a small amount of methamphetamine from Ortega’s car on the night of the crash.
Melissa Ellithorp, 20, of Willows, and her friend, Nicolina Milani, 19, of Glenn, also died in the crash, and 31-year-old Emily Ellithorp remains hospitalized in fair condition at Enloe Medical Center.
There is no evidence of any drug or alcohol use on part of anyone in Ellithorp’s vehicle, the CHP said.
The CHP said Ortega was southbound around 9:30 p.m. on Highway 99W when his 1991 Ford Taurus drifted into the northbound lane and Ellithorp’s oncoming 2007 Hyundai Elantra where they collided head-on.
Family members said Melissa Ellithorp was celebrating her 20th birthday.
Fundraising efforts are underway to help the Ellithorp family defray hospital and funeral expenses.