A 78-year-old motorist was killed Tuesday in a collision with two big rigs while driving the wrong way on Interstate 15 in Rancho Bernardo, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The man was headed north on the southbound side of the freeway for unknown reasons when his 1997 Lincoln Town Car smashed into a box truck near Lake Hodges shortly before 12:30 p.m. The sedan then spun out and collided with a second cargo vehicle, CHP public-affairs Officer Jake Sanchez said.

Medics took the senior to Palomar Medical Center in Escondido, where he was pronounced dead. His name was withheld pending family notification.

No other injuries were reported.

Witness accounts suggested that the wrong-way driver had entered the freeway either at West Bernardo Drive or from Rancho Bernardo Road, meaning that he likely drove against traffic for about a quarter-mile or for several miles prior to the deadly wreck, Sanchez said.

The accident briefly shut down the entire southbound side of the freeway, Sanchez said. The two right-hand southbound lanes remained closed until about 3:30 p.m., at which point the entire route was reopened, the CHP said.

The accident led to heavy congestion on both sides of the interstate in the area through late afternoon.

— City News Service