Wrong-way driver blamed for crash on Interstate 10

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX -- A wrong-way driver caused a crash involving five vehicles on Interstate 10 Friday morning, according to Raul Garcia with the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

Four people were transported to hospitals to be treated for their injuries. Those injuries range from serious to critical.

Interstate 10 eastbound was closed at the Interstate 17 Stack interchange west of downtown Phoenix for several hours. That caused very long delays for drivers forced to take detours.

A person who was involved in the crash but was not injured said he saw the wrong-way driver hit a vehicle which then crashed into his vehicle.

The wrong-way driver is a 25-year-old woman who is being investigated for impairment, according to DPS. Investigators said she traveled at least seven miles in the wrong direction before causing the crash.

The first caller stated the wrong-way driver was near State Route 143, according to DPS.

"We're doing everything that we can," said Garcia. "I can tell you from looking at some of these reports that ADOT was contacted immediately. DPS dispatchers obviously calling our officers to get out to the scene and everyone was in response. My understanding is that local law enforcement was also trying to get an aircraft up to help with this but between 2:02 in the morning and 2:08, that 7 mile stretch, we weren't able to get officers to the scene or that assistance to try and stop this collision from happening."

This is the latest in a series of wrong-way crashes, some deadly, that have occurred this year in Arizona.

"It's very frustrating for our dispatchers call takers to receive this information live from reporting parties, those witnesses, relaying that information to our officers on the roadway," said Garcia. "We're talking about squads here that respond to these on a regular basis. What I mean by that is about twenty-five per month on freeways alone here in the state of Arizona."

Garcia said the injuries from crashes involving wrong-way drivers are some of the most severe when compared to other types of crashes on the freeways.

DPS press release: Wrong-way Collision Along I-10 West of 7th Ave Causes Serious Injuries

>>> Stories about wrong-way drivers and crashes

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Crash closes I-10 eastbound at I-17 ‘Stack’ west of downtown Phoenix

Morning commuters should expect delays, use alternate routes including I-17 south of downtown

PHOENIX -- A crash has closed Interstate 10 eastbound at the I-17 ‘Stack’ interchange west of downtown Phoenix, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation. The closure includes the ramps to I-10 eastbound from I-17 southbound and northbound.

The closure is expected to last through the Friday morning commute, so drivers who normally use I-10 from the West Valley or I-17 from the North Valley should expect delays and allow for extended travel times.

ADOT recommends drivers use alternate routes, including I-17 southbound to the south of downtown Phoenix.

The I-10 closure extends to 7th Avenue, at which point drivers can enter the freeway. I-10 westbound remains open. 

For the most current information about highway closures and restrictions statewide, visit ADOT’s Travel Information Site at www.az511.gov, follow us on Twitter (@ArizonaDOT) or call 5-1-1