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Minor Crash Could Have Been Much Worse: Driver Was Going The Wrong Way



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A minor crash that occurred on one of the I-84 Exit 10 ramps this week could have had a much worse ending than three charges for an elderly driver.

Connecticut State Police (CSP) responded to the I-84 East Exit 10 off-ramp around 11:30 am Monday, December 4, following a one-vehicle crash there.

According to the CSP report, Gary R. Bentley, 69, of Woodbury, was operating a 2006 Ford Focus west on the I-84 East Exit 10 off ramp. Bentley swerved to the left, subsequently colliding into the right shoulder metal beam guide rail.

Hawleyville Volunteer Fire Company and Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corps were both dispatched to the scene.

Bentley was checked for injuries, and then transported to a hospital.

His vehicle was towed due to disabling damage.

Bentley was issued infractions for Driving Wrong Way, Operating Without a License and Operating An Unregistered Motor Vehicle.

The state’s Department of Transportation calls wrong-way crashes one of the largest threats to safety.

According to the Office of Governor Ned Lamont, wrong-way driving crashes in Connecticut tripled in 2022. This includes 13 wrong-way crashes that resulted in 23 deaths — the highest number the state had seen in five years — compared to four wrong-way crashes in 2021 and two in 2020.

Studies have shown that wrong-way driving crashes are 100 times more likely to be fatal than other types of crashes.

The governor launched the “One Wrong Move” wrong-way driving public awareness campaign in March. Anyone who encounters a wrong-way driver should call 911 and report the location as soon as it is safe to do so. If a driver discovers they have entered a highway going in the wrong direction, they should immediately pull into the breakdown lane and change their direction when it is safe, according to the campaign.

In 2021, the state announced an investment of $20 million into wrong-way driving countermeasures. It will add pavement markings near ramps, replace some traffic signals with directional arrows and install more than 500 Wrong Way signs. Those messages will be placed approximately every mile, on the backs of existing speed limit signs.

An elderly male who crashed into the guardrail on the I-84 East Exit 10 off-ramp on December 4 was traveling in the wrong direction, according to Connecticut State Police.
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