Head-on collision claims 2 lives

It’s the type of wreck that most frequently leaves no survivors — a high speed, head-on collision. An early morning crash on the turnpike close to Exit 2 in south Miami-Dade claimed two victims after drivers collided when one entered the highway headed in the wrong direction.

The force of the impact battered both vehicles and forced rescue crews to spend hours extricating the mangled bodies of the two drivers. There were no passengers in either car.

According to investigators with the Florida Highway Patrol, one driver entered the highway and proceeded to drive in the wrong direction until plowing into a car headed south at around 3 a.m.

For one parent, it is like reliving a nightmare from which there is no relief upon awakening. His daughter and her friend died under similar circumstances in 2013 on the Sawgrass Expressway after being struck by an impaired driver headed in the wrong direction.

He said that upon hearing the news of another senseless head-on collision, “Our bodies shake and tremble and we just think of our daughter every time this happens again.”

He has channeled his grief and anger into activism, campaigning to have warning signs erected beside the exits to warn drivers that they are headed in the wrong direction. The signs also capture video of the errant drivers, auto-dials 911 and flashes warnings on warning signs for oncoming vehicles to see.

He formed the group, ‘Marisa’s Way,’ named after his daughter, and their newest goal is establishing a system of sensors to detect wrong-way traffic when they first enter the highway. Before they are able to inflict death and destruction to another unwary driver, poles made out of plastic materials would surge out of the roadway as warning to turn their vehicle around.

Approximately eight of them would block the lane, spelling out “wrong way” on each plastic pole, effectively shutting down the lane.

Whether the driver is impaired or merely confused, these poles can alert them to the perilous path ahead. The parent and his group plan to present their proposal to the state Department of Transportation. Beginning early next year, they also plan to introduce it to the state legislature.

While nothing can replace a lost loved one, seeking compensation through the Florida civil court system can help hold wrong-way drivers accountable for their actions.

Source: CBS Miami, “Deadly Wrong-Way Wreck Claims Two Lives,” Ted Scouten, July 19, 2015