Last week, authorities were fielding several calls about a car driving the wrong way down I-17. On Monday, November 24, police officers received nearly 30 concerned phone calls about a car traveling northbound on southbound I-17 near Union Hills Drive around 11 p.m.
An Arizona Department of Public Safety officer attempted to slow the driver, 44-year-old Carmelina Long of Scottsdale, after slowing southbound traffic at Carefree. When Long did not stop, the officer hit her car with the side of his patrol car, which spun her vehicle across several lanes before slowing to a stop. This maneuver, known as a pit maneuver, is a standard and effective method for police to slow vehicles.
No one was injured as a result of the collision, but officers, firefighters, and paramedics on the scene were able to speak with Long. She had watery eyes and slurred speech, and officers reported smelling alcohol, but she refused to take a breath test after arriving at a Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office substation in Anthem.
Long was arrested on suspicion of aggravated assault, endangerment, and criminal damage, as well as extreme DUI charges. Court documents show that her blood alcohol content was over 0.20% following a blood sample. Her bond was set at $5,000.
The southbound lanes of I-17 remained closed until about 3 a.m., said a spokesman for DPS.
The attorneys at Curry, Pearson & Wooten commend the excellent work of the DPS officers in preventing injuries that evening, and hope that this is the last of the Valley’s ongoing wrong-way traffic incidents.