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Elderly Man Drives Wrong Way 9 Miles on Interstate 5 North of Roseburg Before Stopped by Spike Strips
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
(503) 731-3020 ext. 247

An elderly Roseburg-area man was cited and released Saturday morning for Reckless Driving after driving his vehicle for over 9 miles the wrong way on Interstate 5 north of Roseburg. The wrong way driving by the man ended after Oregon State Police (OSP) troopers deployed spike strips south of Sutherlin and disabled his vehicle.
According to OSP Sergeant Dave Randall, on August 20, 2011 at approximately 8:56 a.m. a 1971 GMC pickup driven by EDWARD WARE, age 75, from Roseburg, began driving northbound in the southbound left lane of Interstate 5 at exit 127. During the next several miles, police officers tried to move into position to get his attention but were unable to. Troopers were also trying to warn driver's ahead to move over to prevent any possible crashes.
"Amazingly, no crashes were caused by the wrong way driver," said Randall.
WARE continued driving northbound until OSP deployed spike strips flattening two right side tires at milepost 135 south of Sutherlin. WARE exited the freeway one mile later where he was detained by OSP, Roseburg and Sutherlin police.

WARE was issued a citation for Reckless Driving before being given a ride to Mercy Hospital for a voluntary evaluation.
Wrong way drivers present an obvious danger to all motorists on our highways. The most recent available crash statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates wrong way drivers are involved in 1.5% of all fatal crashes nationally.

Wrong way drivers usually drive in the inside lane or inside shoulder, believing they are actually on a two-lane highway. Most common types of wrong way driver involved crashes are head-on or sideswipe crashes.

The following information and safety tips are offered related to wrong way drivers.

Who is the wrong way driver?
  • Intoxicated driver
  • Older drivers who easily get confused
  • Intentional drivers (example - trying to avoid traffic jams / congestion caused by crashes)
  • Inattentive drivers who mistake an off ramp for an on ramp

Safety Tips:
  • Watch far ahead for signs of a possible wrong way driver, looking for signs similar to pending problems or developing emergency situations such as other traffic braking or swerving to avoid something, or the obvious - headlights coming in the opposite direction.
  • Caution against driving long periods in the inside lane on freeways, especially on curves.