The South Carolina Highway Patrol safely stopped a vehicle on I-26 in Lexington County Wednesday morning that was travelling the wrong way head-on into traffic. Troopers arrested and charged Vanessa H. Clark of Ladson with DUI.
Troopers said Clark got on I-26 in Lexington county around 5 a.m. and was travelling east in the westbound lane. They say she ran another vehicle off the road around the 102 mile marker and continued to drive against the grain of traffic. Officer S/Tpr. Salvatore Cirencione responded after multiple calls from other drivers, and found her around the 105 mile marker.
Officials say Cirencione used his vehicle to stop Clark around the 106 mile marker, pushing her car into the center median and bringing it to a stop. No injuries were reported.
“This is the second major incident this week where our troopers used exceptional judgment and training skills to detect and stop criminal behavior,” Lt. Col. Mike Oliver, Interim SCHP Commander, said in a statement. Oliver said that reports of wrong-way drivers are not uncommon, and can often result in serious collision or fatalities.
The Highway Patrol is highlighting the incident as it kicks off its new holiday designated driver campaign Thursday. The new campaign, entitled “Be a SANTA” tries to encourge more people to ask for a ride home after they have been drinking.
“This incident should remind the public just how deadly the consequences of your choices can be,” Department of Public Safety director Leroy Smith said, “Thankfully, this one ended without serious injury to anyone – largely because of the troopers’ calm thinking and actions.”