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Troopers stop wrong-way driver

Authorities say a wrong-way driver was stopped along Loop 202 Santan near McClintock Drive on Wednesday morning....

Posted: Jul. 20, 2018 1:29 PM
Updated: Jul. 20, 2018 1:29 PM

Authorities say a wrong-way driver was stopped along Loop 202 Santan near McClintock Drive on Wednesday morning.

Video from the Arizona Department of Transportation showed a vehicle wrecked and blocked in by several other vehicles around 7 a.m.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety says the wrong-way vehicle was first reported on Interstate 10 near Elliot Road, headed eastbound in the westbound left shoulder. The vehicle was traveling upwards of 50 miles per hour and transitioned onto the L-202 Santan before it was stopped by a sergeant near McClintock Drive.

"These are tense, quick, rapidly evolving extremely dangerous situations. The decision making has to come very quickly. The coordination has to come very quickly," DPS Sgt. Matt Kunda said. "We gotta get him stopped. We gotta get him fast."

The vehicle traveled in the wrong direction for nine miles before being stopped by DPS.

DPS says the wrong-way driver is 73-year-old Richard Elliott. He was booked on two counts of felony endangerment. Impairment has not been ruled out.

The driver who captured the video of Elliot driving the wrong way, Hollie Mueller, said she's thankful she's not a victim.

"The feeling that I have is just very thankful, thankful that I'm here to talk about it but also concerned," Mueller said. "I think just for a moment your brain doesn't comprehend what you're seeing. It takes a couple of seconds for your brain to process OK that's a car coming at me."

There have been 19 other media-reported wrong-way incidents in the Valley in 2018 alone.

"If I'm a distracted driver and I have my eyes off the road for 2 seconds, I might not be here talking to you today," Mueller said.

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