Stanford student arrested in fatal DUI crash

A 24-year-old Stanford student was arrested early Sunday on suspicion of drunken driving after he drove the wrong way onto U.S. Highway 101 in South San Francisco and caused a crash that killed one person and seriously injured two more, according to the California Highway Patrol.

CHP said that around 3:50 a.m. Zachary Katz drove an Infiniti sedan headed north onto southbound Highway 101 near Sierra Point Parkway and crashed into an SUV taxicab carrying a driver and two passengers, according to the CHP.

As the taxi traveled across the lanes of the roadway, a Mazda traveling south struck the taxi.

CHP Officer Mike Ferguson said there were two passengers sitting in the rear of the taxi without seatbelts.

One of the passengers was completely ejected from the cab and was killed at the scene. His name is being withheld pending notification of relatives.

The second passenger was taken to a hospital with major injuries.

Ferguson said the taxi driver, identified as 31-year-old Azmach Ejersa of Emeryville, was also hospitalized with major injuries.

Katz was also hospitalized with major injuries, the officer said.

He is considered under arrest on suspicion of DUI and will be booked into county jail after he is medically cleared, according to Ferguson.

The driver of the Mazda was unharmed in the crash.

The crash shut down all southbound lanes of the scene of the crash for more than three hours, according to the CHP.


Posted by my prediction, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 7, 2013 at 7:47 pm

Katz's parents will hire a good lawyer, he'll get off with a wrist-slap, he'll get his MBA and go on to a well-compensated career [portion removed.]

Posted by Barbara, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 7, 2013 at 8:01 pm

Serving some time might be a good thing for him, maybe he will have time to think what he did.

Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 7, 2013 at 8:24 pm

Oxford, Harvard, Cambridge, Stanford -- we will never hear the end of this one.

Posted by Not holding my breath, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 8, 2013 at 12:52 pm

I hope this kid gets some serious jail time, and that a large percentage of his future earnings go to helping to support the family of the dead victim. His parents will probably bail him out of that one, though, just as they probably won't let him spend a night in jail until sentencing.

[Portion removed.]

Posted by parent, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Oct 8, 2013 at 6:30 pm

Lots of cynics here, perhaps because they have seen other killers get off too easily. However, I think a DUI homicide is much harder to get away with than a reckless driving homicide. Juries are often sympathetic to the "I didn't see him" defense, but DUI isn't a joke any more. I would be surprised if he doesn't get at least a year in jail.

Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 9, 2013 at 11:48 am

Three similar DUI cases in New York news, currently arguing that they were too intoxicated to be held responsible. Sentenced to 18 years to life, 25 years to life, and 20 years to life, respectively. Our local guy has some tall odds against him. -- Web Link

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 9, 2013 at 12:35 pm

I would like to see the age limit for driving increased to at least 18, if not older. Other countries are making it much harder for younger drivers because they are often so irresponsible and feel invulnerable. I know it would be hard for some not to be able to drive until they older, but the trend is definitely moving away from all teens getting a license at 16.

Posted by Not holding my breath, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 9, 2013 at 7:54 pm

Unfortunately, this "kid" is 24; he should, at that age, have a better sense of judgment. He really has no excuses, and I hope the proverbial book is thrown at him.

Posted by Coach, a resident of another community
on Oct 10, 2013 at 11:39 am

I realize this question has a thousand answers if you will, but I'll ask it anyway. What possible good ever happens at 3:50 am? Do 24 year old's leave parties at that hour, or have they just woken from a stupor and think they can drive. I know that ramp and it is clear as day to DO NOT ENTER. WT-Heck?

Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 10, 2013 at 8:48 pm

DUI homicide--- 25yrs+ in Ca


Posted by Coach, a resident of another community
on Oct 11, 2013 at 11:17 am

Sharon ... you think so with todays liberal thinkers? I can't wait (actually I can) for the sets of excuses... disoriented ... blinded by somebody's headlights. Ewww and ick!

Posted by No such luck, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 11, 2013 at 2:09 pm

No, if you commit a non-violent crime these days, such as being busted for narcotics possession, you will rack up. Ore years in prison than a murderer. A Stanford student, no matter how criminal, will probably get off with a hand slap. Get real.

Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 11, 2013 at 7:04 pm

15-20 minimum time

Posted by brains/good school= spoiled, a resident of Mountain View
on Oct 14, 2013 at 8:40 pm

the most offensive things in these comments is the assumption that he is a spoiled brat that deserves to serve father went to Stanford Undergrad and Grad school working his ass off the entire time and barely order to obtain a esteemed degree to earn a job helping people...Its a horrible situation for all parties. We all make mistakes, and many drive drunk looks at the percentages, maybe he didnt know the area lord knows some of the exits and on/off ramps, either way there is no excuse for drunk driving but also no excuse to be so small-minded and discriminating based on where he attends college. I feel for both families.

Posted by Why then, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 14, 2013 at 8:51 pm

Why are there no posted photos or mug shots of this guy ? Stanford students wanna know who the turkey is.

Why no charges filed? he committed a vehicular manslaughter while DUI, for heaven's sake! he is not eighteen, old enough to know better. Lucky guy to have patents who would post 259K bail. Were he mine, I would let him sit in jail until trial for doing such a terrible thing. Not just the death, but all the injuries to others as well, plus being a moron for driving drunk in the first place.

Posted by Soldevila15, a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 1, 2013 at 9:38 pm

Soldevila15 is a registered user.

Honestly what this guy did is horrible. Loosing a father that way is horrible. He goes one day and doesn't come back the next. His name was Pedro he was 62 years old. He has two kids Pedro 29 and Kalina 16. He was also known as Chiqui. He drive race cars and won many. He drove in Daytona and Sebring. He was so humble and sweet and generous. Im grateful he died on impact, not feeling anything. His co-worker said that the taxi's seat belts did not work and that they told the driver about it. He (pedro) would always wear his seat belt no matter what! They were not irresponsible. They say the kid id going to be charged with 10 years of county jail but i believe they bailed him.
I don't want anyone to use this against me I am just commenting.
This is what alcohol does, it makes people go stupid and do stupid acts like going on the wrong side of the driveway and killing the best man I could have ever known.
Sincerely Kalina S.

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