FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Attorneys for a wrong-way driver say an Arizona Department of Public Safety sergeant who used his vehicle as a traffic break is to blame for a crash on Interstate 40 that sent both of them to the hospital.
The driver, 32-year-old Patricia Carvalho, has been indicted on 17 charges, including attempted homicide, aggravated DUI and endangerment. The Los Ranchos, New Mexico, woman had a suspended driver’s license and a blood-alcohol content of more than four times Arizona’s legal limit for driving when she was spotted going the wrong way in Flagstaff, according to court documents.
Sgt. Paul Damgaard used his unmarked, white patrol vehicle as a traffic break. Its emergency lights were flashing as he swerved side to side to slow down traffic before coming to a stop in the middle of three lanes on Nov. 17. In a dash camera video captured by another motorist, Carvalho’s vehicle turns in from an outside lane, hitting Damgaard’s vehicle.
DPS said Damgaard likely saved the lives of other drivers. At least three people called to report that Carvalho was driving recklessly or the wrong way, according to a statement of probable cause.