Wrong-way driver arrested for DUI

Posted: Updated:
By Jayson Chesler By Jayson Chesler
By Jayson Chesler By Jayson Chesler
By Jayson Chesler By Jayson Chesler

PHOENIX -- Two more wrong-way driving incidents happened within 24 hours, with one driver being pulled over and arrested for DUI after driving the wrong way on Interstate 10.

Nicole F. Pavuchak, 25, drove south on the northbound I-10 on Monday night. Pavuchak was able to turn around on the freeway, but police caught up with her after she merged on to State Route 51 and exited at Bell Road.

While that incident ended without a collision, a wrong-way driver caused a head-on accident earlier that day in Tempe. Raul Garcia from the Department of Public Safety said they receive around 25 wrong-way vehicle calls a month.

Driving schools and government offices alike are trying to respond to the recent number of wrong-way incidents by teaching drivers about what to do if they see someone coming in their lane on the freeway.

Driving MBA, a Valley driving school, has developed a scenario to train drivers on a virtual wrong-way driving simulator. Kathleen Ryan, one of the school's instructors, said the key to being safe is training the brain to react.

"It's not going to recognize something that is so completely out of the ordinary and so unexpected," Ryan said. "That little time that it takes for you to make the decision that 'oh my gosh, that really is a car coming towards me,' that piece of time could be the difference between you being able to avoid it or being involved in a horrific crash."

Most wrong-way drivers aren't just driving impaired, they're driving at night, according to DPS. Wrong-way drivers are most likely to be driving in the passing or HOV lane, so DPS recommends drivers avoid that lane at night, stay in the middle lanes and be ready to swerve in either direction.