Teen killed by wrong-way driver on I-17; alcohol likely a factor

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- Two people were killed and two more were injured in a late-night car crash in the southbound lanes of Interstate 17 near Van Buren Street overnight.

It happened shortly after 11 p.m. Monday. Southbound I-17 was closed south of the I-17/I-10 interchange for hours. It finally reopened at about 5 a.m., just in time for the morning rush hour.

The wreck involved three vehicles, including a Jeep Wrangler and a minivan.

According to the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the minivan was heading north in the southbound lanes. That minivan plowed head-on into an oncoming vehicle driven by a 17-year-old girl.

The man driving the minivan and the teen behind the wheel of the other vehicle were both killed. A passenger from the teen's vehicle suffered minor injuries and was take to a local hospital.

The minivan also hit a Jeep Wrangler. The driver of that Jeep was taken to a local hospital as a precaution.

DPS said both the injured passenger and the driver of the Jeep should be fine.

The teen victim has been identified as Olivia Wilson. The 17-year-old had just finished her junior year at Desert Ridge High School.

Investigators are trying to determine why the minivan was going the wrong direction on the freeway.

DPS investigators say they believe alcohol played a major role in the deadly crash, but they are still piecing everything together.