Wrong-way I-94 police chase through Brookfield highlights growing trend in Wisconsin
BROOKFIELD, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The Waukesha County Sheriff's Office released new video of a police chase on I-94 through Brookfield Wednesday, April 14.
The chase took place after police received a report of a potential intoxicated driver Sunday, April 11, at 2:24 a.m. According to the Waukesha County Sheriff's Office, the driver made a U-turn after passing County Highway SS and began driving eastbound on I-94 in the westbound lanes.
A recent AAA study found these kinds of incidents are becoming more common. Wisconsin saw the third highest increase in wrong-way driving deaths in the United States.
“That certainly is one of the scariest situations you can find yourself in on the road,” AAA Regional Director of Public Affairs Nick Jarmuscz said.
Wisconsin's wrong-way driving deaths on divided highways increased 230-percent during the span of 2015-2018 compared to the previous five years. That was more than six times the national increase.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) said about 90-percent of wrong-way drivers are intoxicated, and if you see one on the highway, they will probably be driving along the median wall.
“One of the best pieces of advice we can give is statistically, the best chance is to move as far as you can over to the right," WisDOT Communication Manager Jon Riemann said. "Even go onto the shoulder if that’s appropriate to do.”
Riemann said it is best to avoid swerving and to slow down if you encounter a wrong-way highway driver, but you should not stop.
“Because in case you need to take some evasive action that they are coming at you, you know if you’re stopped it’s a lot harder to get that vehicle to move out of the way again. Where as if you’re at a slow roll, you can very quickly maneuver if you had to.”
WisDOT said wrong-way driving is a problem in the state and resulted in 15 deaths during 2020. But general intoxicated and distracted driving are bigger killers.
WisDOT said there were 598 total traffic fatalities on Wisconsin roads in 2020.