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.