Drivers, NDOT talk concerns, potential changes after another deadly wrong-way crash

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A deadly wrong-way crash happened on north Interstate 15 near Charleston early Tuesday morning. Authorities said a silver Jeep was driving the wrong way and crashed into a tractor trailer, which then hit another 18-wheeler.

The crash closed I-15 for several hours and raised even more concerns about wrong-way driving in the Valley. NHP troopers confirmed the driver of the Jeep died.

“It’s pretty sad to see something like that happen,” said driver Scott Putnam.

This comes less than a month after a woman died in a wrong-way crash on I-15 near Cheyenne. Both incidents happened in the HOV lane.

“Just about, I’d say, 99 percent of every crash we investigate that’s a wrong-way driver occurs in that travel lane, and once again, it occurred,” said Trooper Travis Smaka of NHP.

Several on and off ramps by the interstate have these ‘do not enter’ and ‘wrong way’ signs posted. The big question is, if they’re enough of a warning.

“Our freeways are pretty straight forward,” said driver Marta Putnam. “We don’t have these funny loops that go on, you know, where you’re going the wrong way.”

But still, “It can be confusing which side to go on, and that might have trouble changing lanes,” said Scott. “But going the wrong way, I have a hard time seeing that.”

The Nevada Department of Transportation said between January 2005 and January 2015, more than 400 wrong-way crashes occurred in Nevada, with 75 deaths.

NDOT said their signage is already effective. But they’re also working on a pilot program at 95 and Durango, where electronic wrong-way signs will tell drivers to turn around.

Wrong-way driving is often caused by impaired, fatigued or distracted drivers. Everyone agrees that needs to end.

“They’re going to hurt others and themselves. It’s just scary,” said driver Yesenia Choi.

Authorities will be working tonight to make repairs to the asphalt on the interstate damaged in that accident. Northbound I-15 will be reduced to two lanes between Charleston and Sahara starting at 9 p.m. The work is expected to last until 5 a.m., both tonight and tomorrow night.

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