SCHP: Troopers stop drunk woman driving wrong way on I-26

BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - South Carolina Highway Patrol officials say they have arrested a 25-year-old Ladson woman who was driving the wrong way on I-26.

Troopers charged Vanessa H. Clark with driving under the influence.

According to authorities, Clark got on I-26 in Lexington County around 5 a.m. on Wednesday traveling east in the westbound lane. Authorities say Clark ran another vehicle off the roadway at the 102 mile marker and continued driving.

Highway Patrol Communications received multiple calls from the public about the driver and located the vehicle near the 105 mile marker.

Highway patrol officials say after the woman failed to stop, a trooper used his vehicle to push Clark's vehicle into the center median wall of I-26.

The vehicle was safely brought to a stop with no injuries.

"This is the second major incident this week where our troopers used exceptional judgment and training skills to detect and stop criminal behavior," said Lt. Col. Mike Oliver, Interim SCHP Commander. "I am proud of all troopers involved for the professional and safe way this was handled. I also credit other motorists for calling *HP and alerting us to this hazard so quickly."

Oliver said that it is not uncommon for troopers to get reports of wrong-way drivers on interstates. Officials say these situations typically end in a serious collision or fatality if the driver is not located and stopped.

Oliver stressed the importance of contacting the Highway Patrol immediately in such an instance.

SCDPS Director Leroy Smith said this frightening scene underscores the importance of designating a driver. The Department will kick off a designated driver campaign tomorrow at 1 p.m. at Terra restaurant in West Columbia.

"Today's incident makes our new "Be a SANTA" campaign especially timely," Smith said. "With the holidays upon us, impaired driving will increase. This incident should remind the public just how deadly the consequences of your choices can be. Thankfully, this one ended without serious injury to anyone – largely because of the troopers' calm thinking and actions."

Authorities say Wednesday's incident happened in an area where two people have died in similar wrong-way incidents since 2010.

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