UHP trooper intercepts wrong-way driver to get him off the road

Feb 21, 2022, 10:20 PM | Updated: Jun 13, 2022, 4:46 pm

SALT LAKE COUNTY — A State Trooper is recovering from some minor injuries after he made the split-second decision to force a wrong-way driver off the road.

That driver somehow made it the wrong way down 600 South early Sunday morning to continue against the flow of traffic, along Interstate 15.

“I was around 7200 South, northbound already,” said Trooper Devin Henson with the Utah Highway Patrol.

Henson caught up with him at around 4500 South.

“All my emergency equipment is on — all my red, blue lights, sirens, all of that — trying to get the guy to slow down and react to my lights,” he said.

Henson said he even swerved side to side, but the driver simply tried to pass him.

“And at that point, I did what is called a wrong-way intercept and swerve my car back to the left into his vehicle,” Henson said.

(Utah Highway Patrol)

The front corner of his cruiser struck the driver-side of that red sedan. It’s the reason why Henson is recovering from whiplash and a sprained ankle.

“A split-second decision to be able to make that impact and stop his vehicle, as opposed to have him keep driving on and put someone else’s life in danger there,” Henson said.

Trooper Devin Henson with the Utah Highway Patrol.

Those head-on crashes can cause some very serious injuries.

We’ve already had 30 wrong-way crashes in Utah this year, with two of them ending in death.

There were nearly 300 in 2021 and 340 in 2020. 

“In 2021, we saw a little bit of a decrease, but it’s still a trend that’s alarming,” said UHP Sgt. Cameron Roden. “And a lot of times, ends in a very tragic situation.”

Sgt. Cameron Roden with the Utah Highway Patrol.

Roden says a driver’s best defense against a wrong-way car is simply to focus on safe driving yourself and slow down.

“Giving yourself as much time to be able to react to a hazard as possible, such as a vehicle coming at you, is going to give you as much of a chance as anything,” he said.

And call 911, giving law enforcement a chance to try and get that driver off the road.

Roden says the big message they want to get out of this is don’t drink and drive.

He says the bulk of those wrong-way crashes come because of impaired drivers.

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UHP trooper intercepts wrong-way driver to get him off the road