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DPS officer who crashed into wrong-way driver would do it again to save lives

Jeremy Barr and his wife, Kelli. (KTAR Photo/Jim Cross)

PHOENIX — An Arizona Department of Public Safety officer who was injured using his patrol SUV to halt a wrong-way driver said he would not hesitate to do the same thing again.

Some called Jeremy Barr a hero after he stopped the driver, especially considering he had previously used his vehicle to stop two other wrong-way drivers.

“I don’t see myself as a hero,” he said. “I’m just a guy who was on duty.”

Barr was working near Cordes Junction in August when he was alerted to a wrong-way driver in the southbound lanes of Interstate 17.

After slowing traffic, Barr sped off in search of the wrong-way driver, located him and smashed his patrol car into the front of the driver’s truck, halting him in place.

“I decided I had to take him out,” Barr said Wednesday, his first time speaking to media since the crash. “There was no way I could let him get past.”

The wrong-way driver, 48-year-old Timothy Dwayne Harjo of Wickenburg, suffered a minor collision in the crash and was charged with aggravated assault, endangerment and DUI. Barr sustained injuries to his torso.

“I’m pretty miserable from the treatment I’m going through — physical therapy several times a week,” he said. “The damage in my spine is tough to deal with.”

Barr said he was “overwhelmed” by the support offered to him by other officers statewide.

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