A wrong-way, head-on collision that injured two drivers Monday morning was the fifth such crash since May 12 on Valley freeways. (Source: CBS 5 News)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -
Two men were injured in the fifth wrong-way, head-on crash on a metro Phoenix freeway in a little more than a month.
The collision happed about 1:50 a.m. Monday on northbound State Route 143, also known as the Hohokam Expressway, sending both drivers to Maricopa County Medical Center.
One driver had to be extricated from his vehicle and was in serious condition, Arizona Department of Public Safety Officer Hugh Grant said.
The second driver was hospitalized with what was initially diagnosed as a broken leg and open wound to that leg, Grant said.
Both drivers were conscious and talking with officers after the crash, Grant said.
The driver going south in a green sedan who caused the crash was driving with a suspended license after a previous DUI conviction, DPS spokesman Raul Garcia said.
Garcia also said both drivers were being investigated for possible impairment.
The collision closed SR 143 from Interstate 10 and Broadway Road north to University Drive until about 6:30 a.m., Grant said. Southbound SR 143 remained open.
Grant said officers had received a call about a wrong-way driver on SR 143 about a minute before the crash.
There were three wrong-way crashes within six days in May on Valley freeways.
On May 12, Mesa Police Sgt. Brandon Mendoza was killed by a wrong-way driver as he came around a blind curve on a flyover ramp off Interstate 10 in the East Valley.
On May 16, three people from Indonesia were killed and three passengers suffered serious injuries in a collision on Interstate 17 near Bumblebee Road.
And on May 18, 68-year-old Patricia Murphy, who had a blood-alcohol content of 0.18 percent, or more than twice the state's legal limit, was driving the wrong way on the Loop 202 freeway in Gilbert with her grandson in the car when she collided head-on with another vehicle.
Micahel Ruquet, 25, and Ashley Adea, 20, both of Mesa, were killed. Murphy's 9-year-old grandson was seriously injured.
On May 24, three people were injured in a head-on collision on I-17 near New River.
"It's unfortunate we're getting a rash of (wrong-way collisions)," Grant said. "We don't know what is causing them. We've had incidents that have been alcohol- and/or drug-related in the past involving wrong-way drivers. This particular collision is under investigation. We do get wrong-way drivers that are not impaired by drugs or alcohol, but do get confused."
No other information about the drivers was immediately available.
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