Police say New York man drove 18 miles in the wrong direction on Highway 17

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Be careful! A potentially fatal crash was luckily avoided early Monday morning after police stopped a vehicle going in the wrong direction on a major national highway. In fact, it might be a bit of a miracle that there was no incident, considering the driver drove in the wrong direction for a whole 18 miles, officials said. But that doesn’t appear to be impaired driving or bad intention. Unfortunately, according to the driver’s wife, the man behind the wheel suffers from dementia.

WBNG reports that calls to dispatchers started arriving early Monday, when reports of a vehicle traveling the wrong way on Route 17 in Delaware County began to flow. New York State Police and the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office took to the road to search for the vehicle, although they did not have a clear description of what exactly they were looking for. But they knew they had to catch up with whoever was on the wrong side of the road, otherwise there could be huge problems. Later that morning, dispatchers in Delaware and Sullivan counties received calls from the same vehicle traveling east on the westbound lane of Highway 17. This time, law enforcement were able to set up a road closure and ultimately stop the driver.

WBNG says the driver is an 86-year-old man from Ithaca who had been reported missing by his wife. Authorities took the man to a nearby medical center for evaluation. But while this was a case of someone who couldn’t really help what they were doing, there are a lot of other pilots who just just suck sometimes. This case happened a few weekends ago on Route 9 near the Poughkeepsie Galleria. Luckily it was early afternoon and the traffic wasn’t too bad, or it could have turned into quite an accident. We saw an Odyssey that appeared to leap forward at the lights, then suddenly crash for no reason while they were driving. The vehicle also swerved at times, and this driver was unaware of what he was doing. Something was wrong. But were they drunk? Not quite sure, but once we finally got past we noticed why the middle aged woman wasn’t focusing on the road. This lady was reading a book while driving. Not a big map on floppy disk, or some sort of vehicle manual. No. It was sort of a paperback, maybe a novel, and it looks like they’ve come a long way. The driver had his left hand loose on the steering wheel, while the right held the book in front of him. How she didn’t cause an accident is a puzzle.

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