RICHARDSON, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – A person sped 11 miles driving the wrong direction on the President George Bush Turnpike Thursday morning, before hitting another car head-on.
The crash in Richardson killed both the wrong-way driver and the driver of the vehicle hit.
The driver of the Honda Civic from the crash has been identified as Katherine S. Long, 22, from Frisco.
The driver of the Ford Taurus has been identified as Joseph M. Wallace, 53, from Rockwall.
The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) says the accident happened around 2:30 a.m. in the westbound lanes of the turnpike, near Shiloh Road.
According to Lt. Lonny Haschel, troopers were on a traffic stop with a suspected DWI driver in the eastbound lanes of the turnpike. While on scene, they were notified of a driver traveling east in the westbound lanes of the PGBT, approaching their area.
Shortly after getting the information troopers saw a gray Honda Civic approaching from the west and ran toward the concrete barrier in an attempt to stop the driver but they failed.
Haschel said troopers witnesses the Honda colliding head-on with a black Ford Taurus, which was traveling westbound.
The driver of the Honda died at the scene. The driver of the Ford was transported to Medical City Plano and later died.
The cause of the crash is still under investigation, but officials believe the driver of the Honda made a u-turn on the westbound side of the PGBT at Midway Road and began traveling the wrong way.
The westbound lanes of the PGBT were closed for about five hours during the investigation but have since reopened.
The Dallas County Sheriff’s Department says wrong-way crashes comprise only about 3 percent of accidents, but they are among the most deadly.
“The top reasons for wrong way drivers, the biggest reason is driver error or driver mistake,” said Raul Reyna with the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department. “But a lot of the mistakes are caused because some of them may be intoxicated or on drugs. They may not see the signs, it’s late at night.”
He says if you pay close attention, you’ll see additions to highway exits to try to curb wrong-way driving.
“They’re trying to light up the area more. You might see arrows on the concrete indicating direction of travel. So they’re doing all sorts of things to try to warn drivers, hey, you’re about to enter the highway going the wrong way.”
Reyna says most wrong-way crashes occur between midnight and 3:00 a.m. He suggests staying in the right lane during those hours, as most wrong-way crashes happen in the left.