Fire dispatcher killed in wrong-way crash

It's a difficult time for members of the Phoenix Fire Department. One of their emergency dispatchers and a mother of two young boys is killed in a head-on collision.

Investigators say she was hit early this morning by a suspected impaired driver who was going the wrong way on Interstate 17. 

Department of Public Safety officers say the suspect got on to I-17 going the wrong direction early this morning, slamming into two cars, one of them belonging to a 26-year-old fire dispatcher. 

She was on her way to work in a Phoenix Fire dispatcher uniform. First responders knew it was one of their own that was critically injured, she later died at the hospital.

"She dedicated her life and her career to save lives," said Jim Frazier. 26-year-old Megan Lange was killed in the accident on I-17 near Camelback Road. "She was a wonderful person, she cared deeply about what she did, she loved her family and her kids, there's going to be a huge gap we're going to be missing now that she is gone."

Lange was a wife and a mother to two boys; 2 and 6-years-old. She worked as a dispatcher for the Phoenix Regional Fire Dispatch Center. Firefighters and members of her family gathered outside the hospital Tuesday.

"The community is losing someone who answered their 911 calls, Megan delivered babies over the phone when firemen couldn't be there fast enough, Megan answered your calls when you pulled your kids out of your pools, she provided CPR instruction," said Frazier.

A DPS Highway Patrol officer was on his way home and spotted the wrong way driver; he tried to stop him. "The driver chose to drive around him, he tried to do a traffic break to get people off the road but was unsuccessful and the suspect struck Mrs. Lange's car," said Bart Graves with DPS.

Before he hit Lange, the driver sideswiped another vehicle. Police arrested the wrong-way driver, 39-year-old Stephen B. Martin. Investigators suspect he was impaired and could face 2nd degree murder charges for the death of Lange.

"It's senseless, it's not worth the risk, you're hitting a loved one, you're taking away a family member, somebody from the community," said Frazier.

I-17 northbound was closed at Camelback for several hours on Tuesday morning. 

Lange's uncle said she was the breadwinner for the family while her husband attended nursing school. The Phoenix Fire Department set up a fund to help him and her two children. 

If you would like to donate to the family, you can mail a check to the United Phoenix Firefighters Association, 61 E. Columbus Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85012, indicate it is for Megan Lange. 

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