CONCORD -- An Oakland man was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence after the California Highway Patrol said he drove his car into a car dealership just off Interstate 680 early Wednesday morning.
Gwanho Oh, 24, was hospitalized briefly for precautionary reasons then taken to County Jail in Martinez, CHP Officer John Fransen said. The crash happened around 2:50 a.m. at the Concord/Burnett Avenue exit as Oh drove a Honda north on the freeway in a light rain, Fransen said.
Two cars in the lot of Niello Infiniti were severely damaged. Nobody was injured.
"Cars are replaceable," said Dave Nelson, the general sales manager for the dealership. "Yes, it does affect our livelihood to some extent, but you have to keep things in perspective. Fortunately, this did not happen while the lot was open with people there."
The exit onto Burnett Avenue bends sharply to the right, but Fransen said it appears Oh was going too fast to keep the car on the road. Instead, the Honda appeared to jump the curb where the exit bends, flying over a 15-foot dirt patch and crossing the I-680 north on-ramp on Burnett Avenue. It then crashed into a chain-link fence and landed on its roof atop two cars.
"Thank God nobody was getting onto the freeway at the exact time," Fransen said. "It appears the car was out of control."
The back of one car in the lot was crumpled, and shattered glass rested on the trunk of another one. The lot sells certified used cars, and the ones damaged by the wreck were on the market for $25,000-$28,000.
"It's tough to think we'd be able to put them back together and try to sell them," Nelson said.
Nelson also said this is not the first time the dealership has been at the wrong end of a crash on the same exit. A similar incident happened a little more than a year ago, he said, although that crash didn't knock over the fence, he said.
Fransen said the CHP is continuing to investigate the wreck and is hoping to talk with anyone who may have seen anything unusual involving a Honda in that area in the moments before the wreck. Any witnesses are asked to call the CHP's Contra Costa office at 925-646-4980.
Oh was being held at the jail in lieu of $5,000 bail.
Contact Rick Hurd at 915-945-4789 and follow him at Twitter.com/3rderh.