Head-on crash injures 2, closes I-10 for hours


by azfamily.com

Video report by Jill Galus

Posted on April 16, 2014 at 6:57 AM

Updated Monday, Apr 21 at 12:21 PM

Map: I-10 and Warner Road

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CHANDLER, Ariz. -- Investigators are trying to determine if driver impairment was a factor in a crash that closed a portion of Interstate 10 for hours Wednesday morning.

It happened at about 11 p.m. Tuesday at Warner Road.

According to the Department of Public Safety, a westbound driver was trying to merge onto the freeway when she veered off the roadway and spun onto the gravel shoulder.

As she tried to get back on I-10, she apparently became disoriented and wound up driving the wrong direction.

She crashed head-on into another car as she started to accelerate.

"Her speed wasn't very great at that point. She was just moving in the wrong direction on the freeway," DPS Officer Richard Bottoms explained. "If she had been traveling at freeway speeds, we probably would have been looking at a two-time fatal."

Both drivers were taken to a local hospital. While both are in serious condition, neither one suffered life-threatening injuries.

A semi was clipped in the crash, but that driver was not injured and his rig was not damaged. DPS officers treated him as a witness rather than a victim.

Investigators are trying to determine what caused the wrong-way driver to become disoriented. They do not yet know if impairment was a factor.

I-10 was closed between Ray and Warner roads for more than six hours. DPS reopened it to traffic at about 5:15 a.m.