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3 injured in wrong-way crash north of Phoenix

PHOENIX — Three people are injured after a driver going the wrong way hit a guardrail and then a pickup truck late Saturday night near New River, Ariz.

The wrong-way crash happened in the northbound lanes of Interstate 17 before midnight.

Department of Public Safety spokesman Bart Graves said that two men in their 20s were in the Jeep Cherokee that was traveling the wrong direction. The driver was flown to a hospital with serious injuries, including broken bones, while the passenger had minor head injuries.

Graves said DPS officers first got the call around 11:20 p.m. and they were the first to respond to the area. The Jeep had gone southbound for at least three miles before hitting the white pickup truck.

A man in his 50s was inside the other vehicle, and he suffered a broken leg and other non-life-threatening injuries.

DPS later said all victims had been released from hospitals by 7 a.m.

This is the fourth crash caused by a wrong-way driver on a Valley freeway in the last two weeks — but the first of the four to not involve any fatalities.

Graves also said that officers are conducting a criminal investigation into whether impairment was a factor in Saturday’s crash. They did not release the identities of anybody involved in the collision.

DPS closed down the northbound I-17 lanes in the area for about two hours after discovering the crash, Graves said.

New River is about 35 miles north of Phoenix.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.