Wrong-Way Driver Causes Deadly Collision in Albany County

It’s a terrifying sight for any driver: a pair of headlights pointed toward you, driving the wrong direction on a divided highway. Wrong-way driving, while not very common, is an extremely dangerous phenomenon. The US Department of Transportation estimates that 350 people are killed each year in wrong-way driving-related accidents. Below you’ll find information on when and how these accidents occur.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, there are certain facts which often recur in wrong-way accidents. The accidents most often occur with a driver entering the highway on an exit ramp. Wrong-way drivers are frequently drivers over 70, which may be reflect a difficulty in reading signage as a contributing factor. Wrong-way accidents are also much more likely to occur at night; in fact, 78% of these accidents occur between 6pm and 6am. This is considered due to the fact that tired, intoxicated, or vision-impaired drivers are not noticing or reading signage adequately. Intoxication is a factor in between 50-75% of wrong-way accidents, and many at-fault drivers had a record of previous DUI convictions. As a result of this fact, the National Transportation Safety Board has recommended that anyone convicted of a DUI be required to use an ignition interlock device or other in-vehicle means of testing the driver’s blood alcohol level. Additionally, wrong-way signage at on-ramps and exit ramps should be more prominent, to be visible even for visually-impaired or inattentive drivers.

A recent local accident highlights the immense dangers posed by wrong-way drivers. A tragic accident occurred on October 30th, 2015, resulting in two fatalities, caused by a wrong way driver. While the accident is still under investigation, New York State Police believe that George Bradwell, 71, was driving his Hyundai Sonata the wrong direction on the Thruway near Guilderland at approximately 9:30 on the 30th. Between Exits 23 and 24 on the thruway, the Sonata collided with a Chrysler and a minivan. The Chrysler was driven by Robert Prior, 37, who was taken to Albany Medical Center, where he died. The minivan, whose driver was not identified, was struck by two additional vehicles: a Chevrolet Cobalt and a Dodge pickup truck. The Chevrolet was driven by Antione Marcais, 64, who suffered minor injuries. The Dodge driver, 27-year-old John Shatraw III, was uninjured. Bradwell, the driver of the Hyundai, was declared dead at the scene of the accident. Traffic remained at a standstill for five hours after the crash.

If you’ve been injured by a wrong-way or otherwise reckless or negligent driver, contact the knowledgeable and experienced Albany personal injury law firm Basch & Keegan for a consultation on your claims, at (845) 338-8884.