An aspiring doctor, Ryan Folsom, was heading to a job interview in Sacramento, California on Jan. 7, when he was struck by a car driving into oncoming traffic on Interstate 5, just south of Knighton Road.
Grace Elizabeth Ward, who was in the other car, had spent 7 minutes and 29 seconds sitting in the median strip contemplating suicide. After hanging up on a phone call with her mother to tell her that she decided to take her own life. She then turned her vehicle, drove through an opening in the cable meant for emergency vehicles and accelerated towards incoming traffic.
Three vehicles managed to narrowly escape colliding with Ward, 28, before her car crashed into Folsom’s car. The cars collided with so much force that it sent Folsom’s car into a ditch on the side of I-5.
Her car eventually came to a stop upside down in the center median.
Folsom lost his life that day, while Ward suffered a broken leg.
The 29-year-old aspiring doctor was a husband and a father of two—a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old. His wife was expecting their third child in January.
“Ward made a choice that day. … Her choice was very selfish,” Shasta County District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett said, reported Record Searchlight.
“Her actions demonstrated a complete disregard for human life,” she added.
Ward admitted to investigators that she had intentionally driven into oncoming traffic on I-5 in a bid to kill herself. Investigators also said they retrieved a phone next to Ward’s car which she used to call her mother prior to the crash, reported KCRC News, citing a report by the California Highway Patrol.
The 28-year-old is now facing one count of second-degree murder, three counts of attempted murder, three counts of assault with a deadly weapon, and one count of vandalism.
A now-closed GoFundMe page set up by a friend for Folsom’s family raised over $304,000 after his death.