Trooper stops wrong way driver, prevents disaster

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - What could have been a disaster on Interstate 10 in Gulfport Thursday, ended safely thanks to an alert Mississippi Highway Patrolman.

At about 3:30pm Thursday, the trooper was eastbound on I-10 nearing Canal Road when he saw headlights coming toward him on the highway. A green SUV was driving westbound in the eastbound lanes.

Highway Patrol spokesman Corporal Johnny Poulos told WLOX the trooper turned on his blue lights trying to get the driver's attention, but the driver of the SUV continued, unaware of the trooper and other vehicles.

Poulos said the wrong-way driver was only going about 40 miles-per-hour, well under normal interstate speeds. Still, other drivers on I-10 swerved to avoid the SUV.

Poulos said the driver didn't even stop after one of the tires blew out on the SUV. When the trooper eventually got the driver stopped, he found an elderly man behind the wheel, disoriented and unaware of he was driving the wrong way on the interstate.

Poulos says the man suffered from Alzheimer's disease. He was released to his family and the SUV was towed from the highway.

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