Dispatcher dies after Phoenix crash with wrong-way driver

AP News
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Posted: Jan 27, 2015 7:01 PM

PHOENIX (AP) — A Phoenix Fire Department dispatcher died Tuesday after her vehicle collided with an SUV that was going the wrong way on a freeway after evading an attempt by authorities to stop it, officials said.

The dispatcher, 26-year-old Megan Lange, was driving home from work when the early morning crash occurred. She died later at a hospital, the Fire Department said.

The collision closed a portion of Interstate 17 during much of the morning commute.

It was the latest in a rash of wrong-way accidents on Phoenix-area freeways. A wrong-way driver and an off-duty Mesa police officer were killed in a May 12 wreck, and two people were killed May 18 when their car collided with a pickup truck going the wrong way.

Three people were killed in a May 16 on I-17 about 30 miles north of Phoenix when their minivan collided with a car going the wrong way.

In the crash Tuesday, the state Department of Public Safety said an officer saw a large SUV get on I-17 at the Glendale Avenue off-ramp and begin driving southbound in northbound lanes. Authorities suspect alcohol impairment.

The officer tried to stop the wrong-way SUV about 1 a.m., but it swerved around the officer's vehicle and collided with two other vehicles, the one driven by Lange and a car driven by another woman, the DPS said.

The woman driving the car was treated at the scene for minor injuries.

The 39-year-old man driving the wrong-way SUV and his 38-year-old female passenger were taken to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries, the DPS said. Their identities were not immediately released.