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Australian tourist charged with two counts of vehicular manslaughter following San Mateo County crash

Australian tourist charged with two counts of vehicular manslaughter following San Mateo County crash

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

Luke Nardini, a tourist and Formula 500 race-car driver according to Australian media, was headed eastbound in the westbound lane on Highway 84 around 5 p.m. Friday evening when he collided with a Ford Taurus carrying four passengers. A male backseat passenger was pronounced dead at the scene, while the other backseat passenger, a woman, died later at a hospital.

Nardini, who was driving a BMW M4, crossed into the westbound lane at about 55-60 miles per hour because of a road closure of the eastbound lane, according to prosecutors. When the closure ended, he forgot to cross back over to the right-hand side of the road.

Prosecutors noted that in Australia, like the United Kingdom and many former British colonies, motorists drive on the left-hand side of the road. The California Highway Patrol said over the weekend that it was possible that Nardini briefly forgot about the difference in procedure.

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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.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.