DPS: Wrong-way driver arrested after hitting 5 cars on Mesa freeway

- A man has been arrested after authorities say he hit several cars while driving the wrong way on a Mesa freeway.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety says  32-year-old Trent Walker was heading east in the westbound lanes of US 60 and hit five other cars before troopers could stop him. Walker entered the freeway at Mesa Drive and was stopped at Val Vista.

Walker faces charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, criminal damage, DUI and failure to stay at the scene of an accident. He was treated at a hospital for injuries suffered in the crashes and booked into jail.

"He swerved. We're lucky we didn't hit anyone next to us, lucky no one was hurt. It could've ended so so badly," said Anais Alvarado. For a moment after she saw the headlights of the wrong-way driving coming at hear, she said she wondered if she will make it to her wedding, which is scheduled for November.

"You just think when you're sitting there, 'what if this person knew the cops were after them and didn't want to live anymore, and what if they decided to hit us'?" said Alvarado.

At one point, Alvarado estimated the wrong-way driver was about 15 feet away from her, before they moved out of the HOV lane.

"I yelled, 'there's a car coming our way'," recounted Alvarado. "He swerves out of the way, and that's when this car comes zooming right past us. We're in the HOV. They're in the shoulder, between the shoulder and thee SUV, and we just zoomed past."

DPS says Walker was going approximately 70 miles an hour, and had driven about five miles, going east on the westbound lanes of the US 60.

"We began the Field Sobriety Test and DUI Testing," said DPS Spokesperson Raul Garcia. "At this point, we do suspect impairment, and DUI has not been ruled out."

According to DPS, there have been 36 wrong way crashes on Arizona freeways so far in 2017, and 10 of them involved injuries and fatalities. DPS officials say to avoid wrong way crashes, drivers should have a plan, which could include avoiding the HOV lane, and take evasive action.

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