GARLAND, Texas - The Texas Department of Public Safety is trying to determine what caused a driver to head the wrong way on the George Bush Turnpike Thursday morning, leading to a fatal crash.
The crash killed the drivers of the two vehicles involved. The wreck shut down the roadway for more than five hours.
The crash happened in the westbound lanes of the President George Bush Turnpike, between Campbell and Shiloh roads in Garland, at about 2:30 a.m.
DPS is still working to find out why one driver decided to make a U-turn in the middle of the highway and go the wrong direction.
State troopers had stopped a suspected drunken driver when they learned of a wrong-way driver on the other side of the highway.
The troopers ran toward a concrete barrier to try to stop that car. It ended up hitting another car head-on.
DPS identified the wrong-way driver in the Honda Civic as 22-year-old Katherine Long, of Frisco.
Authorities said she crashed head-on into a Ford Taurus driven by 53-year-old Joseph Wallace, of Rockwall.
Long, the wrong-way driver, died on scene, while Wallace was taken to Medical City Plano, where he later died.
Preliminary investigation indicates Long turned around in the westbound lanes for some unknown reason, and started driving in the wrong direction near Midway, traveling more than ten miles before crashing.
No one else was hurt.
“This was just in the middle of the road,” said DPS Lt. Lonny Haschel. “They didn’t use a cut-through like you see emergency personnel use. This was not that. This was your typical three or four lanes of tollway down by Midway. They slowed down, did a U-turn in those lanes and went back the other way, which is odd. It’s very unusual, so again, we’re trying to figure out why on earth that person did that.”
DPS says toxicology will be performed on both drivers, but it’ll take some time to get the results back.
Investigators also haven’t released how fast the wrong-way driver was going.
The road was shut down for about five hours during the investigation, but opened back up just before 8 a.m.