A man suspected of intentionally driving the wrong way on state Highway 17 in Santa Cruz earlier this week and crashing head-on into the vehicle of 48-year-old Ana Barajas has been charged with murder in her death.
Eric Weers, 28, of Soquel, faces one count of murder with a special allegation for probation ineligibility in connection with Barajas’ death on Monday, according to his public defender William Weigel. The crash happened at about 3:10 p.m. on southbound Highway 17 near where it connects with state Highway 1, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Barajas was driving south on the highway when Weers allegedly drove his silver Acura SUV head-on into her maroon Chrysler sedan. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Weers’ SUV caught fire, but he managed to escape unharmed, CHP Officer Hatcher said.
A preliminary investigation indicated that the collision was intentional but that Weers chose Barajas’ car to crash into at random, Hatcher said. Alcohol and drugs do not appear to be factors in the crash, he said. If convicted as charged, Weers faces 15 years to life in prison, Weigel said. He will return to court for a plea hearing on July 28.
Barajas was a Santa Cruz resident and single mother of four, according to the Santa Cruz County District Attorney’s Office. District Attorney Bob Lee offered condolences to Barajas’ family in a statement released on Wednesday. “This senseless horrific act must be held appropriately accountable,” Lee said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to Ms. Barajas’ family and friends.”
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