PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) − The Arizona Department of Public Safety has identified a wrong-way driver who was stopped by troopers before anyone could be hurt early Monday morning on Interstate 17 in Phoenix.
DPS identified the wrong-way driver Tuesday morning as Diane Begay, 59.
The Arizona Department of Transportation's wrong-way detection system was notified of the wrong-way driver entering southbound in the northbound lanes of I-17 near Camelback Road at 3:08 a.m., according to ADOT.
"It's all about time. If you can detect a vehicle right away immediately, with a thermal camera, it's going to make a huge difference in DPS being able to respond and also ADOT being able to warn other drivers out there on the freeway," Doug Nintzel, a spokesman for ADOT said.
Shortly after, DPS started receiving calls from drivers of the wrong-way driver continuing southbound in the northbound lanes.
"Troopers were dispatched immediately, ADOT was able to light up the overhead message boards along the freeway to try to warn other drivers who are out there to be on the lookout for a wrong-way vehicle," Nintzel explained. "We were able to light up ramp meter red lights so that we were trying to hold traffic that would normally be coming on the freeway, facing that wrong way driver."
Troopers were able to stop Begay near the Stack before any crashes were caused.
DPS says Begay was arrested and later booked into the Fourth Avenue Jail in Phoenix.
Begay is facing several charges including aggravated DUI and endangerment.
ADOT says they've noticed most wrong-way drivers are driving impaired.
"Technology alone is not going to be able to stop all crashes from occurring along the freeway. It really is going to be that we need to continue to make strides in the area, people not being impaired drivers, not heading to the freeway in that type of state," Nintzel said.
This wrong-way stop comes after a very deadly weekend on Arizona highways, per DPS. They say seven deadly crashes occurred on Arizona highways over a 24-hour period.