Thankfully, No One Hurt
It seems that most incidents involving wrong way drivers who have had too much to drink tend to result in fiery crashes and horrific fatalities. But thankfully for everyone involved, a recent accident in the Okemos area involved only the driver himself and even then – no one was harmed, which is wonderful in the light of several recent catastrophic fatal wrong way driver accidents.
According to police records, at about 7:15 in the evening of January 31st, several 911 callers reported a wrong way driver on I-96 near the Okemos exit. Apparently the vehicle crashed into the median but, just as a Michigan State Police Trooper arrived on the scene, pulled away from the median and continued driving the wrong way down the highway.
The trooper gave chase and the fleeing vehicle exited I-96 by taking an on ramp that led to US 127 where he proceeded to drive the wrong way into oncoming traffic. After a short pursuit the driver lost control and crashed his car into a guardrail near Jolly road, where an Ingham County Sheriff’s deputy used his car to pin the suspect’s vehicle to the guardrail so that he couldn’t drive away a second time.
The driver, who was primarily unharmed, was arrested. In the light of other recent wrong way crashes, many of which were fatal, this particular police intervention could be considered a life-saving success, as no one was harmed.
Police say that the suspect, a 33-year-old man from Mason, will be charged with fleeing and eluding, drunk driving, and leaving the scene of an accident.
Under Michigan law, fleeing and eluding police is a felony punishable by a maximum fine of $500, a sentence of up to 2 years in prison, and the suspension of their driver’s license. Leaving the scene of an accident in this case is a misdemeanor charge that could result in possible jail time of up to 90 days and up to $100 in fines.
This drunk driving charge will most likely be a misdemeanor, as long as this isn’t the suspect’s third offense and his BAC doesn’t exceed 0.17 which would make him eligible for “super drunk” charges. The penalties could include a fine of anywhere from $100 to $500, up to 93 days in jail and the possibility of up to 360 hours of community service. In addition, the suspect’s license may be suspended.