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Wrong-way crash closes northbound Interstate 17 in Phoenix for hours

(Screenshot/ADOT Webcam)

PHOENIX – A car going the wrong way on Interstate 17 in Phoenix slammed into a semi-truck, sending one person to the hospital with serious injuries, officials said early Tuesday.

The Arizona Department of Transportation said the lanes were closed near the Carefree Highway around 5:30 a.m. and reopened four hours later.

The sedan was heading southbound in northbound lanes when it smashed into the driver’s side of the semi, a spokesman for the Arizona Department of Public Safety said in an email to KTAR News 92.3 FM.

The impact ejected the driver, a woman in her in 20s, from the car. She was conscious when first responders arrived and was taken to the hospital.

The driver of the semi was uninjured.

Traffic was backed up about 2½ miles from Loop 303 to the Carefree Highway an hour after the wreck occurred.

The wreck was the most recent in a slew of wrong-way crashes on Arizona freeways in past few weeks.

The crashes of late, Trooper Kameron Lee told Arizona’s Morning News, were related to impaired driving.

“You have to make the decision now, before you’re in the position to drive impaired,” he said. “That you will never do it. (DPS) can’t do it alone.”

In early August, state troopers eventually caught a man who had been driving in wrong direction on eastbound Interstate 10 near Chandler Boulevard.

He hit a patrol car trying to escape from authorities who tried to block his progress.

Days before that, on July 30, a driver smashed into another car on Loop 101 near 75th Avenue in Glendale, killing the other driver.

Another accident that week on Loop 101, this one near Indian School Road, wasn’t fatal.

A 70-year-old woman crashed into a car on I-17 north of Phoenix that same weekend.

The woman was driving north in southbound lanes near Sunset Point.

No one was seriously injured.

According to DPS statistics, there have been 83 wrong-way driving DUI arrests this year from Jan. 1 to Aug. 11. There have been 35 collisions, six of them responsible for the deaths of 16.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Jim Cross and Ashley Flood contributed to this report.

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