Officials with the California Highway Patrol announced last week they have changed their opinion on the blame for a fatal Highway 1 accident in May, now finding that a South Coast woman was not the party at fault.

The head-on collision killed one driver, Kathryn Habenicht, 20, of San Jose, and critically injured San Gregorio resident Julie Schreiber, 44, who was driving the other vehicle. Officers responding to the crash initially believed Schreiber was responsible, reporting that her vehicle was traveling northbound and veered into oncoming traffic.

In the days after the accident, the victim’s father, Henry Schreiber, took issue with the initial report, saying his daughter was actually traveling southbound and was not to blame for the crash. He reportedly turned over an ATM receipt from a bank in Half Moon Bay, indicating his daughter was traveling south toward her home at the time of the accident. Witness accounts also backed up his version of events.

“The initial report by the CHP misinterpreted the evidence at the time,” he said on July 18, the day the CHP announced their amended report. “The first report by the investigating officer was his initial assessment, but further investigation proved it was the opposite.”

CHP officials agreed with the family’s account after conducting a further investigation of the accident, said spokesman Arturo Montiel. Officials now believe Habenicht drifted into oncoming traffic.

“Schreiber was not at fault in this collision,” he stated.

The CHP report often plays a central role in any civil or criminal suit that results from an auto accident.

The crash left Schreiber in critical condition with several internal injuries. She is recovering and is able to move about with the use of a walker.

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