Dona Ana County- On Tuesday, September 10, 2013 at approximately 11:20 PM, State Police dispatch in Las Cruces received a call of a wrong-way driver eastbound in the westbound lanes of Interstate 10 near milepost 123, approximately 15 miles west of Las Cruces.
Due to the nature of the call and the obvious public safety concern, State Police issued a notification to surrounding law enforcement agencies for assistance while State Police responded.
Deputies and Agents from the United States Border Patrol and the Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Department were already actively pursuing the vehicle eastbound in the westbound lanes when State Police units arrived approximately 10 minutes later, near Love’s Truck Stop west of the city.
A Dona Ana county deputy was able to successfully deploy a tire deflation device; however, though the vehicle was slowed to less than 30 miles per hour, it remained mobile and continued eastbound into oncoming traffic. The vehicle had just entered the city limits of Las Cruces and was approaching the US70/Picacho Avenue overpass when State Police officers were able to position a unit in a safe manner in the center median to intercept it.
A State Police officer then used his patrol vehicle to impact the suspect vehicle and bring it to a stop, still in the opposing lanes of traffic. The driver was taken into custody without further incident.
Interstate 10 was temporarily closed until the driver could be evaluated for medical treatment and the roadway could be cleared.
Neither the suspect nor the State Police officer sustained any significant injury. Charges are currently pending by the Dona Ana County Sherriff’s Department.
The driver of the vehicle has been identified as an elderly female from El Paso, Texas, with some evidence of dementia or other acuity disorder. According to family members, they had been considering having her driver’s license surrendered to the State of Texas for health reasons. The Dona Ana County Sherriff’s Department was the primary agency on this call.
Contact: Sergeant Emmanuel Gutierrez