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Wrong Way Driver Causes 3 Fatalities in Peru

Steve Wagner

“There’s a car headed right towards me,” an Indiana driver told 911 dispatchers. “I had to pull off the road. He’s in my lane headed west, it has me shaken!”

That was the call from one of the nine different people who dialed emergency dispatchers in the minutes leading up to a deadly wrong way crash in Peru earlier this month. The tragic crash killed the 86-year-old wrong way driver and two IU Kokomo students. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, about 350 people die in the U.S. every year because of a wrong way driving accident.

State police say the older driver was traveling on a rainy night, westbound in the eastbound lanes and got confused on the divided highway. His vehicle hit the teen’s car head-on. Indiana police say they just weren’t able to stop him from the time dispatchers received the calls to when the crash occurred. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has found that 78 percent of all wrong way crashes occur at night.

Wrong Way Accidents Trend In Similar Review

The NTSB has also released a special report in which they looked at data from wrong way accidents to find common trends. Some of the characteristics they discovered were shockingly similar to the events in the Peru wrong way wreck.

The NTSB report provided these statistical trends:

  • Drivers over the age of 70 presented the majority as at-fault in wrong way accidents. This may be due to difficulty seeing signage, as vision tends to get worse as we age.
  • Most wrong way movements involve a vehicle entering an exit ramp.
  • Wrong way collisions are more likely to occur at night. The combination of tired drivers, intoxicated drivers, and lack of visibility due to darkness make it much more likely that wrong way accidents will occur at night, between 6 pm and 6 am.
  • Wrong way crashes disproportionately occur on the weekend. Again, this may be in part due to the fact that more people go out drinking on the weekend than on weekdays.
  • Most wrong way collisions occur in the lane closest to the median. The NTSB found that 7 out of 9 wrong way collisions occur in this lane.
  • The majority of wrong way drivers are intoxicated. As you might imagine, this is by and large the most common cause of wrong way accidents. A meta-analysis by the NTSB found that more than half and as many as three quarters of wrong way accidents are the fault of a drunk driver. In the cases where the blood alcohol level of the driver could be found, the majority of at-fault drivers were found to have a BAC at or above .15—almost twice the legal limit.

Our thoughts are with the families involved in this tragic accident.

Have you or a loved one been impacted by a wrong way driver or a drunk driver? If so, the vehicular accident attorneys at Wagner Reese have the experience to help you potentially secure compensation and assist you with your recovery. In the case of wrongful death, we understand there is no way of replacing the loved one you have lost. If you’ve been injured, or if you lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligent driving, call our offices today at (888) 204-8440 to schedule a FREE consultation.


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