Even with warning and exceptional efforts, law enforcement cannot always stop drunk driving accidents. Arizona Department of Public Safety officers were unable to stop a recent head-on car crash by a suspected drunk driver that led to four injuries in Phoenix. This accident is the latest in a series of wrong-way collisions, many fatal, on Valley highways in 2014.
DPS said that dispatchers received approximately 20 calls reporting a wrong-way driver on Interstate 17 and Thomas Road. Police reportedly tried to ram the wrong-way car, which was heading south near McDowell Road. However, the driver was able to evade the police vehicle. It then sideswiped a white passenger vehicle carrying two occupants. He then crashed into a Lexus sedan.
The 30-year old women driver of the Lexus suffered critical injuries. The two occupants of the white sedan were transported to the hospital with injuries. The suspect also suffered critical injuries in the crash. Southbound I-17 was closed for several hours.
Police said that the 60-year-old wrong way driver was suspected of driving while impaired. A blood sample was collected from him and sent to the DPS crime lab for processing. The suspect could face aggravated assault charges depending on the test results.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reported that more than 10,000 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in 2012, which equals one fatality every 51 minutes. Impaired drivers caused 227 fatalities in Arizona in 2012, according to the NHTSA. This constituted 28 percent of fatal crashes in the state for that year.
Victims of a drunk driving accident and other reckless and illegal driving, such as speeding, should promptly obtain advice to assure that they could seek compensation for losses suffered in in these accidents. Family members may also file a wrongful death action for the loss of a loved one.
Source: CBS 5 Arizona, “4 hurt as wrong-way driver causes head-on crash on I-17,” Steve Stout, July 31, 2014