WA race car driver faces US court after crash kills two

An Australian man is facing manslaughter charges in the United States after he allegedly drove on the wrong side of the road and killed an elderly couple in a head-on car crash.

West Australian Luke Nardini, 31, was allegedly speeding on a tight, blind turn before the collision on Friday evening near San Francisco, The Mercury News reports.

California prosecutors have charged him with two counts of vehicular manslaughter following the deaths of Jack Davis and Linda Davis, who were both 80 years old.

Nardini, a Speedway driver, appeared in court on Tuesday for an arraignment hearing at the Hall of Justice in Redwood City, where he pleaded not guilty.

Bail was set at $US20,000 ($A31,400), according to the San Francisco Bay area newspaper.

The court heard Nardini was driving a BMW M4 on Highway 84 in the Santa Cruz Mountains when a road closure forced him onto the wrong side of the road.

Once he passed the works, he “(forgot) to move back to the right side of the road, as they drive on the left in Australia”, prosecutors said.

Nardoini allegedly continued driving on the wrong side of the road for about three kilometres and reached a speed of about 95km/h in an area where the legal limit was 72km/h.

He had not been in the US long and was not familiar with the winding, two-lane road, Officer LaRock said.

Mr Davis was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. 

Ms Davis was transported to a hospital, where she later died.

The car they were passengers in, a Ford Taurus, came around a sweeping curve when Nardini’s BMW appeared about three metres in front of them, LaRock told the newspaper.

The Ford driver tried to swerve out of the way but the cars collided head-on. 

The Taurus' front-seat passenger suffered a concussion and the driver was taken to hospital for observation.

Drugs and alcohol are not suspected to have caused the crash.

Nardini's mother, Cheryle Nardini, said her son was "being so strong" after he faced court two days ago.

"Was so good to be able to see him," Ms Nardini, who has travelled to the US, wrote on Facebook.

"We have a long way to go."

Ms Nardini said her family had been devastated by the incident and asked friends to provide character references for her son.

Dozens of people, many from the family's hometown of Narrogin, responded to Ms Nardini's request with supportive messages.

They included Jerome Sutton, Speedway WA's chief steward.

"Over the past 10 years, I have found Luke Nardini to be a very responsible person in our sport who has raced with the utmost respect and sportsmanship for his fellow competitors both on and off the race track," he wrote.

"He has always been courteous and respectful towards the officials and administrators.

"Our sport is both lucky and all the more better for his involvement in motorsport here in Australia."

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