No alcohol found in system of I-275 wrong-way driver

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Blood test results found no alcohol in system of the wrong-way driver involved in a crash that killed two people in another vehicle on Interstate 275 Dec. 12, police said.

Michigan State Police are still waiting on drug screens and the medical examiner's reports to determine what caused the crash, Lt. Mike Shaw said.

The crash, which happened about 10:35 a.m., shut down the northbound lanes of I-275 in Canton for about four hours. 

Police said the wrong-way driver was southbound on the northbound side when two vehicles crashed.The 59-year-old from Wolverine Lake sustained non-life-threatening injuries.

The driver of the northbound car and a passenger both died. The names and ages of the man and woman have not been released as of Thursday. 

Shaw said there’s been a recent spike in drivers headed the wrong way on freeways.

“We’ve picked up quite an increase lately for some reason,” Shaw said. “I’m not sure what’s behind it, but we’re getting 15-20 wrong-way driving incidents called into the dispatch center per month. 

“We don’t catch them all by the time we get there; sometimes they got off the freeway or realized their error and turned around. But when you get a crash with a wrong-way driver, it’s usually a fatal because of the speed. We’ve had about eight fatalities in the last five years.”

Also this month, police arrested a motorist who was allegedly driving the wrong way on I-75. Video footage shows 27-year-old Tonya Berta of Ida speeding south in the northbound lanes of the freeway near downtown Detroit. She was intoxicated and had a 1-year-old boy in the car, police said.

Berta was charged with driving while intoxicated with an occupant less than 16.