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police & fire

Wrong-Way Driver Sideswipes Police Cruiser On I-95

Ashton Steen
Ashton Steen Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

DARIEN, Conn. — A 26-year-old Darien woman was charged with drunken driving after drove the wrong way on I-95 and sideswiped a Connecticut State Police cruiser in Darien overnight.

Multiple 911 callers reported a wrong-way vehicle traveling north in the southbound lanes at about 12:45 a.m. Monday, state police said.

A 2016 Audi A3 was spotted traveling in the wrong direction at a high rate of speed between Exit 6 in Stamford and Exit 12 in Darien, state police said. There were multiple near misses as the car drove the wrong way on I-95, state police said.

"With the assistance of DOT highway cameras, troopers located and observed the vehicle, a 2016 Audi, being operated at a high rate of speed in the left and center lanes northbound on the southbound side of I-95," state police said.

Troopers slowed southbound traffic while one trooper continued driving southbound on I-95 with his emergency lights and siren activated, state police said.

Trooper Eduardo Santiago drove back and forth across the highway lanes in an attempt to get the attention of the Audi's driver, state police said.

Santiago spotted the Audi approaching him in the left lane in the area of Exit 12. Even though the cruiser's emergency lights and siren were activated, the Audi's driver did not reduce speed, yield to the emergency vehicle or stop, state police said.

As the Audi approached, Santiago moved closer in an attempt to get the driver's attention, state police said.

The driver continued traveling, so Santiago decided to use his cruiser to stop the wrong-way driver, and the Audi and the cruiser sideswiped near Exit 12, state police said.

Steen and Santiago were not injured, but both cars sustained serious damage, according to state police.

Thd driver of the Audi — 26-year-old Ashton Steen of Darien — told state police that she had been drinking and that she thought she was in New Jersey.

Steen failed a series of field sobriety tests and was taken into custody, state police said.

She was charged with second-degree reckless endangerment, reckless driving, operating under the influence of alcohol and operating the wrong way, state police said.

Steen was released after posting $10,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in Stamford Superior Court on Feb. 20.

What to do if you see a wrong-way driver:

  • Slow down and safely move to the right shoulder or as far to the right as possible.
  • If it can be avoided do not slam on the brakes, especially if there is a vehicle directly behind you and avoid swerving into other lanes or off of the road.
  • Honk the horn, flash your vehicle's headlights and turn on the hazard lights. It's possible that you may be able to make the wrong-way driver aware that they are traveling in the wrong direction.
  • As soon as it is safe to do so, call 911 and report the wrong-way driver. Be sure to give your location, including the direction of travel and closest exit. And if you are able to, provide a description of the vehicle.
  • Never turn around and follow a wrong-way driver.
  • When driving on the highway at night, especially after midnight, travel in the center or right lane. Wrong-way drivers often travel in the left lane thinking they are in the correct lane for their direction of travel.
  • Remember: Not all wrong-way drivers are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Some wrong-way drivers may be experiencing a medical emergency, while others may be disoriented or confused by signs.

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