Wrong-way driver charged with killing man in alleged attempted suicide

A Northern California woman apparently attempted to commit suicide by driving her car head-on into freeway traffic earlier this month. On Thursday, she was charged with the second-degree murder of the driver she struck and killed.

Grace Elizabeth Ward, 28, suffered a broken leg after she crashed into the vehicle that Ryan Folsom was driving on Interstate 5 on Jan. 7. She was arrested Tuesday after her release from the hospital and remained jailed on $1.5 million bail.

Folsom, 29, who attended medical school in San Antonio, Texas, was headed to a Sacramento hospital to interview for a residency.

Ward was driving north on the freeway in Redding when she crossed into oncoming traffic in an alleged attempt to kill herself by running into other cars, prosecutors said.

“She intentionally was driving and swerving towards them,” Shasta County District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett said during an arraignment hearing on Friday.

Three cards swerved out of the way before Ward slammed into Folsom’s car.

“She made a choice, a purposeful choice to use her vehicle and driving in a fashion that was reckless and dangerous with complete disregard [for others],” Bridgett said, adding that it was a “selfish” decision.

Ward has been interviewed but Bridgett declined to discuss what she told investigators. The district attorney also declined to discuss details of Ward's background.

In addition to the murder charge, Ward is charged with three counts of attempted murder and three counts of assault with a deadly weapon for allegedly trying to strike the other three cars, Bridgett said.

She also is charged with felony vandalism for damaging a median strip in trying to cross into oncoming traffic, Bridgett said.

Ward could face life in prison if convicted.

Folsom played football at Brigham Young University in Utah, where he studied neuroscience, and attended the University of Texas medical school in San Antonio.

His widow is pregnant with their third child. A GoFundMe account raised more than $300,000 for the family.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.