Woman says she was nearly hit by I-17 wrong-way driver

Posted: Updated:
(Source: Arizona Department of Transportation) (Source: Arizona Department of Transportation)

 A Phoenix woman says she was nearly hit by a man driving the wrong way on I-17. 

Margarita Garcia says she was in the passenger seat, exhausted after a long day of moving, as her friend was driving northbound, passing Camelback.

Garcia says she was startled when she felt a car whiz by on the left.

“We thought we were tripping for real,” says Garcia. “You could feel the swoosh.”

Garcia says the car was going so fast she didn’t catch a glimpse, though her friend says he saw headlights.

Investigators say they were not alerted about the wrong-way driver until he had reached Thomas Road.  DPS has not been able to determine how long the driver had been traveling southbound in the northbound lanes.

Troopers say around 2:45 a.m. the wrong-way driver crashed into a fuel truck, flew off the off-ramp, and crashed to the ground below.

Garcia says she knew what happened when, on her way back from her sister’s house, she saw the emergency vehicles.

“Thinking about it all day,” says Garcia.  “I could have been dead.  Essentially I’m glad it wasn't us but sad it was him.”

Garcia says she doesn’t plan to change her driving habits, but is having some serious thoughts about life and death.

“They say your life is already predicted before you're born,” says Garcia.  “Maybe it was his time to go, but that's the wrong way to go.”

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