Family nearly struck by wrong-way driver on I-35 at Loop 410

Father grateful for Transguide digital billboard warning of wrong-way driver

SAN ANTONIO - Joe Ochoa was driving along Interstate 35 near Loop 410 on Nov. 23 when he was faced with oncoming danger.

“I noticed the Transguide sign said ‘Reported wrong-way driver. Stay alert,’” says Ochoa.

That wrong-way driver was headed north in the southbound lanes, according to police. Another driver swerved to avoid hitting the oncoming car and clipped a vehicle, causing it to fly off of the overpass at Rittiman Road and I-35 and land upside down.

Moments earlier, when Ochoa saw the alert of TXDOT’s Transguide sign, he says he knew what to do.

“I’d always heard that wrong-way drivers tend to stay in what they think is the slow lane, which ends up being the fast lane going the wrong way. So I pulled over to the center lane," Ochoa said.

But as the female driver headed toward Ochoa's truck- with his children in the backseat- she changed lanes.

“I slammed on the brakes and got up against the wall and she came within an inch of the truck,” he said. “If we would’ve had the same height mirrors they would’ve definitely slapped."

According to TXDOT, there were 185 reports of wrong-way drivers in 2011, but TXDOT says the San Antonio Police Department received 358 calls to 911 reporting wrong-way drivers during 2011.

TXDOT created a task force that same year to address the issue and later implemented the use of flashing signs to alert drivers who might be entering the highway going the wrong way.

After such a close call, Ochoa made a personal call to thank TXDOT.

“They remarked that that’s probably the first time they ever got a compliment as opposed to 'why wasn’t this updated quicker?' Ochoa recalls. “They were pretty pleased as I was, too, for my family's sake.”

For a list of recent stories Myra Arthur has done, click here.


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