CHP: One Dead in DUI Related Crash, Man Arrested for Gross Vehicular Manslaughter

Press Release


The California Highway Patrol is reporting that around 1:21 am Sunday, they responded to a report of a vehicle crash blocking the roadway on SR-24 near I-680.  The vehicle was fully engulfed in flames with the solo occupant trapped inside and could not get out.

Here is what CHP released Sunday:

Early this morning at about 1:21am, Contra Costa CHP was advised of a vehicle that was possibly involved in a collision and blocking the roadway on SR-24, just west of I-680. Prior to CHP arrival, another vehicle was reported to have collided into that vehicle blocking the roadway. Then upon CHP and emergency personnel arrival, the vehicle that was originally blocking the roadway (2003 orange Nissan Z sedan) was fully engulfed in flames with the solo occupant trapped inside. The vehicle that struck the Nissan, a blue 2018 Chevrolet Volt, was crashed into the center median with a solo male driver inside. Tragically the driver of Nissan was not able to escape and died within the burned vehicle. That driver remains unidentified and the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Coroners Office will be handling the release of identity of that driver. Please direct inquires to them.

In the initial investigation, it appears that the driver of the Nissan was traveling eastbound on SR-24 and was involved in a solo collision and was then blocking the lanes of eastbound traffic.

Then the driver of the Chevrolet, 68yr old Dennis Toshimi Tajiri of Concord, was traveling eastbound on SR-24 and collided into the Nissan. Tajiri’s Chevrolet came to a stop in the center divider and he remained in it until CHP arrival. Unfortunately the unidentified driver of the Nissan was unable to escape and the Nissan burst into flames and became fully engulfed. Tragically that driver died within the Nissan. Tajiri suffered only minor injuries and was transported to John Muir Hospital in Walnut Creek.

While there, CHP conducted a DUI investigation and he was subsequently placed under arrest for FELONY DUI. Upon his release from the hospital, Tajiri was booked into the Martinez Detention Facility for FELONY DUI and GROSS VEHICULAR MANSLAUGHTER.

This collision is still under investigation and if anyone witnessed it or the events leading up to it, please contact Contra Costa CHP in Martinez, (925) 646-4980. Thank you.


  1. The guy in the Nissan? Oh Lord! Why aren’t vehicles designed in such a way that a person could get out in such circumstances? Why do so many vehicles today burst into flames?

    • Seriously? It was a crash. That means many variables could’ve prevented the door from being opened and him escaping. Regarding the fire, again it was a crash. Fuel lines can be ruptured and the fuel flows onto hot exhaust pipe and or manifolds, thus catching fire. I truly wish I didn’t have to explain the obvious to someone so obtuse.

      • I have been driving for a very long time and I’ve never seen more vehicles burst into fire like they do these days? Is it some faulty design on the part of the manufacturer? I kind of suspect it is

  2. This area of highway 24 has had more crashes than many others. Something about the construction of that part of the road brings it on. It’s especially dangerous during the rainy season. I drive that part of 24 a lot and I am EXTRA careful and watch how traffic performs ahead of me. I’ve seen many “skids” and those were not only in the early morning hours. This part of the road should be reevaluated by traffic engineers.

    • You are right! I too travel on 24 and have seen people dovetail and even spin out. Something is definitely wrong with the way that portion of the freeways has been constructed. I drear driving it in the rain because I myself almost skidded and I do not drive fast.

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