May 30, 2024
After a road closure forced him onto the wrong side of the road, the defendant "(forgot) to move back to the right side of the road, as they drive on the left in Australia," prosecutors said.

SAN MATEO COUNTY — Prosecutors have charged an Australian man with two counts of vehicular manslaughter after a deadly crash last week in which he was allegedly driving on the wrong side of the road on Highway 84 near La Honda.

Luke Nardini, 31, was driving eastbound in the westbound lane of Highway 84 around 5 p.m. Friday evening when he collided with a Ford Taurus carrying four passengers, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office.

A male backseat passenger was pronounced dead at the scene, while the other backseat passenger, a woman, died later at a hospital. The two other passengers were injured; their condition was not known Wednesday.

Killed in the crash were Jack Davis and Linda Davis, both of whom were 80 and living in La Honda, according to the San Mateo County coroner’s office.

Nardini, who was driving a BMW M4, encountered a road closure of the eastbound lane, according to prosecutors; once he passed the closure, they said, he “(forgot) to move back to the right side of the road, as they drive on the left in Australia.” He continued driving eastbound in the westbound lane, reaching a speed of 55-60 mph, authorities said.

The Ford Taurus was going westbound, coming around a “sweeping” curve, when Nardini’s vehicle appeared directly in front of them — only 10 feet away, prosecutors said. The Taurus’s driver took evasive action but the cars collided head-on.

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Nardini appeared in an arraignment hearing at the Hall of Justice in Redwood City on Tuesday, where he pleaded not guilty to both misdemeanor charges. Bail was set at $20,000.

Australian news site Perth Now reported that Nardini is a racecar driver in Western Australia.

This is a developing report. Check back for updates.

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