Wrong-way driver charged with super extreme DUI out of jail

Posted: Updated:
Yvonne Christina Cruze at her initial court appearance (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Yvonne Christina Cruze at her initial court appearance (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The woman was placed in custody by troopers, DPS said. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The woman was placed in custody by troopers, DPS said. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Mug shot of 24-year-old Yvonne Christina Cruze. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) Mug shot of 24-year-old Yvonne Christina Cruze. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
(3TV/CBS 5) -

A woman accused of driving the wrong way on the Loop 202 and arrested for super extreme DUI is now out of jail.

Arizona Department of Public Safety troopers pulled over 24-year-old Yvonne Christina Cruze near Third and Oak streets in Phoenix in the early morning hours of Wednesday, April 18.

A field breath test showed an estimated blood alcohol concentration of 0.222 according to court paperwork. That is nearly three times the minimum legal threshold for a DUI charge. According to Arizona law, a BAC between 0.15 and 0.19 is designated as extreme DUI, while anything 0.20 or higher is super extreme DUI.

[INFOGRAPHIC: DUI, extreme DUI and super extreme DUI]

“I gave some consideration to prohibiting you from driving at all but again, but I’m not going to order that because I’m giving a fair amount of weight to the fact that you have never before been arrested," the judge at Cruze's initial court appearance said.

[READ MORE: Woman charged with extreme DUI after driving wrong way on Loop 202 in Phoenix]

[MUG SHOT: Yvonne Christina Cruze]

Arizona's Family talked to a truck driver who had a close call with Cruze.

Greg Coplan was taking a load of food from Tolleson to Mesa on the Loop 202 near 40th Street when he saw headlights in the lane to the left of him. The wrong-way driver was about to collide with a car next to him. Coplan had to swerve right to give the other car enough room to get out of the way.

“I got two trailers behind me and easily swerving or something could roll over," he explained. "If there was a car, if there happened to be a car in the lane next to me where I couldn’t have swerved over, those two would’ve hit head-on."

[RELATED: Legislators propose tough laws to stop wrong-way crashes]

“It was very close,” he added. “When I think back ..., it makes me more upset. At the time, you just react. ...It was a pretty dangerous situation.”

Coplan feels lucky to be alive and is thankful nobody was hurt. It was about 6 miles from where he saw Cruze to where she was arrested.

“It could’ve been a heck of a lot worse … easily,” he said.

That said, he can’t understand why wrong-way driving is a continuing problem in Arizona.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Wrong-way drivers in Arizona]

[RELATED: Finding ways to combat wrong-way driving]

“They’re not just taking their own lives into their hands when they do that,” said Coplan. “They’re endangering a lot of other people.” 

According to DPS spokesman Bart Graves, there have been 22 wrong-way crashes so far this year. Of those, four were deadly; nine people were killed.

Graves said there have been 36 wrong-way DUI arrests. 

[INFOGRAPHIC: Wrong-way crashes in Arizona in 2018]


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Maria HechanovaMaria’s last name is pronounced HETCH-UH-NO-VAH. She joined the 3TV/CBS 5 News team in July 2017, but is no stranger to Arizona.

Click to learn more about Maria.

Maria Hechanova

Prior to moving to Phoenix, she spent four years in Tucson reporting for KOLD News 13 and KMSB FOX 11 covering wildfires, VA transportation issues, and Southern Arizona's largest school district.

Before that, she worked for WLNS-TV, the CBS affiliate in Lansing, Michigan where she learned a lot about the auto industry and almost never took off her parka.

Maria also reported in Yuma where she had the incredible opportunity to fly with the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels and cover countless military homecomings.

She got her start at KPHO in 2008 as a college intern and is happy to be back and working with professionals who helped shape her career.

Shortly after college, Maria landed an internship with the TODAY Show in New York City thanks to the help of the Asian American Journalists Association.

She graduated from Northern Arizona University where she was also a member of the women's swimming and diving team.

Maria grew up in the Valley and went to Ironwood High School in Glendale.

When not reporting the news, she’s hunting for the best carne asada tacos or bowl of pho, swimming laps, or hanging out with her USMC veteran husband and rescued Shih Tzu.

In addition to Facebook and Twitter, you also can find Maria at @MariaHechanovaTV on Instagram.

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