The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicates that wrong-way crashes are approximately five times more likely to happen between the hours of midnight and 6:00 a.m. There can be any number of reasons why a wrong-way crash can occur, including drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, distracted driving, or an inexperienced or elderly driver becoming confused. The NHTSA estimates that half of all wrong-way crashes end in fatality.
Phoenix authorities report that one person was killed and several others injured in a multi-vehicle wrong-way crash. KTAR reports that the accident happened in the northbound lanes of Interstate 17 just north of Phoenix at mile marker 256. At approximately 12:30 a.m. on Monday, April 22nd, a southbound driver driving in the northbound lanes struck another vehicle near Sunset Point. Eyewitnesses to the crash said that the driver fled the scene.
A spokesperson for the Arizona Department of Public Safety said in a statement that the driver of a black Ford Mustang caused another vehicle to swerve from an impact and hit an embankment. The evasive maneuver by the second vehicle caused it to go into oncoming traffic where it was hit by a third vehicle. A fourth passenger vehicle crashed into a guard rail while a big rig was struck by flying debris from the accident.
Emergency crews arrived on the scene and declared the driver of the second vehicle dead at the scene of the crash. Two passengers who were also in the second vehicle at the time were taken to an area hospital for treatment for non-life-threatening injuries. No other injuries were reported.
Authorities are still searching for the hit-and-run driver of the Mustang.