Wrong-Way Wreck


July 17, 2014 / Vehicle Accidents

It’s sometimes hard to figure out how a driver could wind up driving in a lane going the wrong direction. And Wayne County law enforcement personnel are wondering how a man driving westbound in the eastbound lanes of I-70 came to be headed the wrong way on a portion of the interstate that is divided by a median with a cable barrier.

Early on the morning of Sunday, July 13, 2014, Phillip Lloyd of Richmond, Indiana, was behind the wheel of a Mustang which collided with a Greyhound bus headed from St. Louis to New York City. Lloyd was killed instantly; the bus driver was airlifted to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis; and 18 of the 23 bus passengers were treated at Reid Hospital in Richmond. Fortunately, most of the injuries were relatively minor scrapes, cuts and bruises.

The Mustang had been reported stolen from the Love’s Truck Stop in Richmond just before the crash, which may have been a factor in the driver’s inattention or heedless effort to get out of the area. It is unknown whether alcohol or drugs played a part in this tragic wrong-way wreck, but they often do. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 60 percent of wrong-way crashes are caused by drunk drivers.

What are some other reasons for wrong-way wrecks?

  • Age. Fifteen percent of wrong-way wrecks involve drivers who are more than 70 years old. Their eyesight is likely to be impaired, and many elderly drivers become confused when navigating from one road to another.
  • Inattention. Driving on multi-lane roads demands careful attention to signs and markings. Drivers who are distracted by cell phones or passengers may miss important warnings.
  • Intention. Much of wrong-way driving on freeways results from deliberate, illegal U-turns
  • Impatience. Sometimes drivers intentionally go into the oncoming lane in an attempt to avoid traffic congestion or other vehicles waiting to make a turn.

The I-70 accident caused numerous injuries because there were many passengers on the bus; however, it’s likely that the size of the bus also helped prevent passenger fatalities. Had the accident involved another car or van filled with passengers, we probably would have been reading about more deaths. Wrong-way impacts are often severe: While less than one percent of highway accidents due to other causes are fatal, 22 percent of wrong-way automobile crashes are fatal.

Is there anything a person can do to avoid being the victim of a driver barreling down the highway in the wrong direction

    • When you’re on a highway, watch far ahead for signs of a possible wrong-way driver – something as obvious as headlights coming toward you or as general as other traffic braking or swerving to avoid a collision.
    • Wrong way drivers usually drive in the inside lane or inside shoulder, believing they are actually on a two-lane highway, so avoid driving for long stretches in the inside lane, especially on curves.

If you or your loved one has been injured through the negligence of another driver, the Indianapolis car wreck lawyers of Stephenson Rife Thopy & Harrold can help you obtain just compensation. Call Mike Stephenson at 1-317-825-5200 for a free consultation.

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