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2 wrong-way drivers arrested north of Phoenix in less than a day

(KTAR News Photo/Matt Bertram)

PHOENIX — Two wrong-way drivers were arrested north of Phoenix in less than 24 hours this week, according to the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

Spokesman Bart Graves said the agency received a string of 911 calls Sunday around 7:45 a.m. about a driver going north in southbound lanes near the junction of State Route 169 and Interstate 17.

Graves said another vehicle swerved to avoid hitting Valena Nez, 32, of Phoenix and hit a guardrail.

He said Nez then made a U-turn on the interstate and began a verbal altercation with the other driver and punched her window.

Nez started driving the wrong way again and almost hit two passenger trucks before she made another U-turn, Graves said.

Troopers stopped Nez and arrested her on charges of endangerment, DUI, aggravated assault, disorderly conduct and open container.

On Monday around 2:15 a.m., another wrong-way driver was arrested north of Phoenix, Graves said.

He said Dylana Allinger, 23, of Glendale was driving north in southbound lanes on I-17 near Black Canyon City.

Graves said Allinger was pulled over and arrested on charges of endangerment, DUI and open container.

No one was injured in the incidents.

Arizona saw at least six wrong-way driving incidents last week, including one that resulted in the death of a 20-year-old woman.

DPS Director Col. Frank Milstead told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Bruce St. James & Pamela Hughes Show on Friday that society has to become “outraged” over impaired driving before such incidents will stop.

He said he has been floating the idea of implementing a system of flashing lights to alert drivers to vehicles going the wrong way on freeways.

The Arizona Department of Transportation has been testing an early warning program with 90 thermal imaging cameras that detect drivers going the wrong way on off-ramps.

The agency expects to complete an evaluation of that pilot program in a few months.

Arizona open and hiring: If you’re looking for job openings, visit ktar.com/arizonahiring.

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