A cruiser barricade and emergency lighting weren’t enough to bring a Massachusetts driver going the wrong way on Interstate 95 south in New Hampshire to a halt early Monday morning. Instead, a New Hampshire state trooper resorted to cautiously colliding with the wrong-way driver to potentially prevent them from crashing head-on with other operators.
New Hampshire State Police received multiple reports of a wrong-way driver going north on I-95 south in Seabrook on Monday morning at 1:14 a.m., officials wrote in a statement. Witnesses told police the wrong-way driver was driving in the wrong direction towards the Hampton Toll Plaza area in the town of Hampton.
New Hampshire troopers and local police officers set up cruisers along the interstate at the Hampton Toll Plaza and used emergency lighting and audible signals in an effort to bring the wrong-way driver to a stop before they drove through the open road toll section of the Hampton Toll Plaza, according to officials.
Despite law enforcement’s efforts, the wrong-way driver passed the cruisers and their emergency lights and continued driving in the wrong direction.
After the failed barricade, NH State Trooper Peter Sankowich decided to position his cruiser alongside the wrong-way driver at which time the vehicle still failed to yield. In an attempt to stop the car from continuing to travel in the wrong direction toward oncoming traffic, and to reduce risk to the public, Trooper Sankowich used his cruiser to collide with the wrong-way driver’s vehicle.
The trooper guided the vehicle into a cement barrier on the shoulder of the southbound lanes of the open road toll section, successfully bringing the vehicle to a stop. As a result of the contact, the cruiser sustained cosmetic damage and the involved wrong-way vehicle was completely disabled, requiring the car to be towed from the scene, according to officials.
N.H. State Police identified Swampscott, Massachusetts, man David Garriss, 79, as the operator of the 2010 Hyundai Sonata that was driving the wrong way on Monday morning. Troopers said the man was uninjured during the collision but appeared disoriented and confused which police believe may have contributed to his driving.
As a precaution, Garriss and an elderly female passenger, the only two occupants in the vehicle, were transported to the Seabrook Emergency Room for examination, police said in a statement. A subsequent investigation led authorities to charge Garriss with negligent driving. He’s being held in the care of the Seabrook Emergency staff until arrangements could be made with Garriss’ family members.
New Hampshire state police are still investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident.
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