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Drinking and Driving Leads to Three Deaths in Wrong Way Crash

Steve Wagner


  • Indiana State Police have released reports related to a tragic wreck in which an intoxicated, wrong way driver caused the death of three people and injured many others on an Indiana Toll Road.
  • 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.
  • There are several common trends of these types of roadway tragedies, most of which are caused by other drivers who are intoxicated.
  • Alcohol reduces the function of the brain, impairs thinking, reasoning and muscle coordination and makes it difficult to operate a vehicle safely. NEVER drink and drive.

Woman and Children Killed on Indiana Toll Road by Drunk, Wrong Way Driver

We are heartbroken after reading reports of yet another drunk driver senselessly taking the lives of a woman and two small children, while injuring several others. Through a review of reports by Indiana State Police the intoxicated, wrong way driver caused a four-car pileup on an Indiana Toll Road in his Toyota. 911 calls alerted police just minutes before the crashes with reports of an out of control, wrong way driver traveling in the eastbound lanes of the Toll Road near Granger.

Soon after, the Toyota turned around and began driving west in the eastbound lanes but not before tragically crashing into a 2004 Chevy Tahoe about a mile east of Mishawaka, police said. The Tahoe, with five passengers inside, then rolled over into the center median. The engine caught fire and a woman and two child passengers were soon after pronounced dead on the scene. Another child, age 10, as well as the Tahoe’s 46-year-old driver are being treated for serious injuries.

The Toyota also collided with a semi-trailer truck and caused another passenger vehicle to swerve in hopes of avoiding the crash while dangerously sliding through the center median before it came to a stop in the westbound passing lane, police said. The driver of the Toyota is a 32-year-old man, now suffering life-threatening injuries and hopefully a head of regret because of his choice to drink and drive.

The attorneys and legal team at Wagner Reese are keeping our thoughts with the families and friends of those taken by this tragic accident.

Drunk Drivers and Deadly Wrong Way Accidents

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has authored a special report in which researchers looked at data from wrong way accidents to find common statistical trends, many of which fit this horrific wreck perfectly.

  • Some state reports show as many as 60 percent of wrong way drivers were driving under the influence (DUI). And another meta-analysis by the NTSB found that 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.
  • 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.
  • Some wrong way movements involve a vehicle entering an exit ramp.
  • Nearly 70 percent of wrong way vehicles are passenger cars.
  • Approximately 80 percent of wrong way crashes are located in urban areas.
  • The majority of wrong way drivers are between the ages of 20 and 50.

A study in Virginia found the fatality rate for wrong way collisions on controlled-access highways to be 27 times that of other types of accidents. On average, about 350 lives are lost each year in about 260 fatal wrong way collisions across the U.S.

Drivers Can Support Protections Against Drunk Drivers

In Indiana, 26 percent of traffic fatalities were caused by drunk drivers and alcohol impairment in 2017 resulting in 211 people killed. Hoosiers can ensure their own safety on the road by keeping following several of these safe driving tips:

  • It’s never a good idea to follow a possibly impaired driver around, even if your intentions are good. Instead, call the police and provide the information you have about the drunk driver such as the make and model of the vehicle and a license plate number, then get away from the potentially deadly situation.
  • Drunk drivers often show signs of their impairment, including swerving or delayed reactions to conditions around them. You can avoid them by driving defensively and staying alert, observant of the drivers around you and never driving while distracted.
  • Wear a seat belt at all times. No matter how many precautions you may be taking, an accident is always a possibility. Seat belts reduce your risk of serious injury significantly. While riding a motorcycle, always wear a helmet and protective gear.
  • If you have to stop your vehicle on the side of a highway for any reason, avoid walking into the travel lane while exiting and park as safely away from the road as possible.

To wrap up these safe driver tips, remember yourself to NEVER drink and drive or get in the car with a driver who has been drinking. If you plan to drink away from home and need transportation, designate a sober driver before you leave, hop in a cab, or find an alternative ride at the end of your night. No matter what the cost, it will be cheaper than a DUI or living your life knowing you took someone else’s. All drivers are responsible for staying sober while operating a motor vehicle.

No Risk Drunk Driving Attorneys

If you were injured or your family members killed as the result of the poor decisions of a negligent driver who was drunk the car accident attorneys at Wagner Reese can assist you in pursuing the compensation you deserve and may need. In the case of wrongful death, we are sorry and understand there is no way of replacing the loved one you have lost but want you to know we may be able to help.

There is no risk, as we never collect any kind of fee unless your case is settled or won. Contact us today at (888) 204-8440 for more information or connect with us by submitting our online form to schedule a free consultation.


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