DPS: Impairment suspected in wrong-way crash that injured 4 in east Mesa

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A wrong-way driver told the fire department he took illicit drugs before crashing and injuring three others in east Mesa, according to the Arizona Department of Public Safety. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) A wrong-way driver told the fire department he took illicit drugs before crashing and injuring three others in east Mesa, according to the Arizona Department of Public Safety. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The wrong-way crash closed southbound Loop 202 Santan at the U.S. 60 in east Mesa for several hours. (Source: Arizona Department of Transportation) The wrong-way crash closed southbound Loop 202 Santan at the U.S. 60 in east Mesa for several hours. (Source: Arizona Department of Transportation)
Four people, the wrong-way driver and three occupants in another vehicle, were transported to local hospitals. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Four people, the wrong-way driver and three occupants in another vehicle, were transported to local hospitals. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5/ADOT) -

A wrong-way driver admitted to being impaired after a crash injured three others on Loop 202 Santan in east Mesa early Thursday morning, according to Capt. Jake Pruet with the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

Just after 1 a.m., an off-duty Phoenix police officer noticed a man driving northbound in the median on the Loop 202 Santan near Baseline Road.

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When the officer attempted to stop him, the driver found a break in the barrier wall and proceeded to drive northbound in the southbound lanes, said Pruet.

The wrong-way driver then collided with a southbound vehicle, injuring three occupants. One of the injured had to be extricated from the vehicle after becoming trapped from the crash.

The driver and the three occupants of the other vehicle were transported to local hospitals but the injuries are considered non-life threatening, said Pruet.

The off-duty officer was uninjured.

"This is kind of an interesting one here. Typically, we get the ones that come onto the freeway, they don't usually start right way on the freeway and then go wrong way on it," said Pruet. "So, again, these are all case by case ones, they're all unique on how they get on and sometimes we don't know how they get on, so it's kind of a guessing game."

The wrong-way driver, who is in his late 20s to early 30s, indicated that he was under the influence at the time of the collision.

"Impairment is suspected," said Pruet. "He made some comments to the fire department about taking some illicit drugs, so that investigation is ensuing as well."

Southbound Loop 202 Santan was closed just south of the U.S. 60 interchange, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

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All traffic was being taken off the southbound freeway at US 60. The off-ramp from US 60 onto the L-202 Santan was also closed.

Southbound lanes were closed for almost four hours. Northbound lanes were unaffected.

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