On Monday, police arrested a 19-year-old male who was driving a vehicle that entered the westbound lanes of Interstate 440 traveling in the wrong direction and crashed into another vehicle, causing one person to suffer fatal injuries.
Per a report by WKRN.com, the accident happened just after 1:30 a.m. on the I-440 ramp connecting to the southbound lanes of Interstate 65. Metro Nashville Police say that the suspect was traveling eastbound in the westbound lanes in his 2004 Chevrolet pickup truck just before it collided head-on with a 2004 Mazda Tribute that was entered the I-440 from I-65.
The 25-year-old driver of the Mazda Tribute was determined by emergency responders to have died on impact. The wrong-way driver exited his truck and toward nearby apartments on Franklin Road. The MNPD used a K-9 unit to track down the driver, and he was eventually located and arrested after turning himself in to authorities.
The MNPD reopened the interstate to traffic at around 6 a.m. The hit-and-run driver is being charged with vehicular homicide by intoxication, leaving the scene of a fatal crash, and failure to render aid.
How Does Alcohol Contribute to Wrong-Way Crashes?
The National Transportation Safety Board found that of nearly 1,600 drivers involved in wrong-way collisions, around 60 percent had consumed alcohol before the crashes. In addition, the NTSB also found that drivers who had consumed alcohol before being involved in wrong-way crashes were likely to be highly intoxicated, with around 60 percent having a BAC of 0.15 or higher.
Some of the reasons that alcohol can increase the risk of wrong-way crashes include:
- Blurred vision
Many wrong-way collisions occur at night when visibility is reduced. In addition, many drivers who are heavily intoxicated drive at night or early in the morning. Alcohol can cause people to experience blurred or double vision, making it more difficult for them to see road signs. That can result in drivers using highway or interstate exits as on-ramps, causing them to drive in the wrong direction before colliding head-on with other vehicles.
- Poor judgment
Even when drivers don’t experience blurred vision or are unable to read road signs, they can still drive the wrong way because they failed to notice signs or failed to consider that the road they’re on is an exit ramp instead of an on-ramp. In addition, intoxicated drivers also may attempt to pass other vehicles in areas where it’s prohibited, significantly increasing their risk of colliding with other cars, trucks, and SUVs head-on.
- Risk-taking behavior
Alcohol can significantly reduce inhibitions while significantly increasing the likelihood that a person will engage in risky and aggressive behavior. That can cause drivers to intentionally put themselves and others in danger by driving the wrong way on highways and interstates, or by driving in the wrong direction on one-way streets.
- Reduced muscular coordination
At very high levels of intoxication, people can experience reduced or lost muscular coordination and control. They may even lose consciousness. Drivers who are profoundly intoxicated may be physically unable to stay awake or keep their vehicles traveling in a straight line, resulting in them crossing center lines or medians and colliding with other cars.
Wrong-way collisions are some of the most dangerous types of crashes—especially when one of the drivers is intoxicated or impaired. These collisions almost always involve two or more vehicles colliding head-on, putting drivers and passengers at high risk of suffering severe injuries and even ejections, which have a high fatality rate.
If you or someone you know was hurt in a crash caused by a wrong-way driver, you may be eligible to pursue a claim for compensation. To find out how our legal team can assist you during this difficult time, dial (615) 200-1111 or complete a free online consultation form. We have more than two decades of experience fighting for the rights of injured victims, and we know what it takes to win.