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Wrong way driving a factor in fatal wreck

DPS says driver may have been impaired
Posted at 8:01 PM, Jan 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-17 22:01:55-05

TUCSON, Ariz. - Investigators say a driver was driving the wrong way on the I-10 access road shortly before a wreck that killed his passenger and sent him to the hospital.

The wreck happened just after two Friday morning but DPS troopers and detectives had to spend almost ten hours examining the aftermath.

Drivers going the wrong direction have been a terrible danger.

This latest wreck is a bit different because DPS says the driver was heading in the wrong direction, but when they tried to stop him, he turned around and tried to escape.

He was going the right way on the access road when he plowed into a pole.

The impact was so extreme it nearly tore the car in two. DPS says a state trooper turned on his emergency lights the moment he saw the car going the wrong way.

Then the driver turned the car the right way but hit the gas hard, zoomed to high speed, and lost control trying to turn.

Jesse Lopez says he's seen a lot of wrecks in 18 years living near Speedway and I-10

"This one right here, it's the worst I have ever seen.">

The passenger died at the scene. He was 21 year old Alberto Batt.

DPS suspects the driver was impaired. Local DPS commander Captain Jeff Lane says drivers going the wrong direction in their lane are often the ones too impaired to think straight.

He says for the safe drivers, certain lanes offer better protection from a driver coming at you the wrong way.

"It's far safer to be within the middle lane or the right hand lane, as they're traveling, because wrong way drivers tend to be operating their vehicle wrong way. On the left lane, because their mindset is thinking that they're, they're traveling at us, they're used to seeing traffic driving in the opposite direction to their left. So they tend to be in that left hand lane."

Captain Lane says last year there were about 10 wrong way wrecks in Pima county compared to 56 In Maricopa. He thinks thinks that's mainly a reflection of how many more drivers you see in Maricopa County.