Man drove wrong way for 40 miles

Jan. 29, 2009 at 6:59 PM
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NORTH PLATTE, Neb., Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Authorities in Nebraska said attentive drivers averted disaster when an 88-year-old man drove the wrong way for 40 miles on Interstate 80.

Jim Parish, commander of State Patrol Troop D out of North Platte, Neb., said the man had been sent by his wife to pick up dinner and became lost. The man wound up driving east in the westbound passing lane of I-80, the Omaha (Neb.) World-Herald reported Thursday.

Parish said the man drove from North Platte to just west of Cozard, Neb., Thursday night, apparently without realizing he was driving the wrong way. He said drivers headed in the correct direction on the highway were able to avoid the elderly driver and alerted authorities.

Parish said the 88-year-old driver appeared to be aware of the police cars keeping pace with him on the interstate's eastbound lanes but he does not "believe he realized what they were wanting him to do."

The highway was cleared and police vehicles were able to travel east in the westbound lanes to pull the man over. Parish said the man did not appear to be intoxicated.

"He was just very confused," Parish said.

The driver, who was cited on suspicion of willful reckless driving and driving the wrong way on a freeway, was taken to Great Plains Regional Medical Center in North Platte for evaluation and treatment.

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