The Arizona Republic has reported on the “Valley’s seemingly endless summer of freeway carnage involving” wrong-way drivers. On Interstate 17, Interstate 10, and other Valley roadways, wrong-way drivers have caused innocent people to lose their lives.
On May 12, 2014 Mesa police officer Brandon Mendoza, was struck and killed by an impaired wrong-way driver. The wrong-way driver had driven the wrong way for 35 miles before colliding with Mendoza’s vehicle. Officer Mendoza was killed, while he was on his way home after a shift.
Officer Mendoza was described as an “iconic figure” at the Mesa Department.
Highway wrong-way collisions are particularly violent and the victims have little chance of avoiding serious injury or death.
In 2012, it was reported that wrong-way drivers had a role in 15 Arizona fatalities. There were 78 fatalities from 2008 through 2012.
Most of the wrong-way crashes take place in the late night or early morning. Studies have concluded that 75 percent of wrong way collisions involve impaired drivers. The combination of drinking and driving can be deadly, destructive and can lead to immeasurable grief and losses to family members and to our community.
Arizona Republic, “Wrong-Way Drivers Posing Tough Problem,” Jim Walsh, August 1, 2014.
AZfamily.com, “Wrong-Way Driver Hit, Killed Off Duty Mesa Officer,” May 12, 18, 2014.