NHP patrol cruiser hit by wrong-way driver on I-80

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - A driver is believed to have been drunk after driving the wrong way on I-80 for nearly 10 miles, hitting a Nevada Highway Patrol car along the way Thursday morning.

NHP started receiving calls about a wrong-way driver around 2:45AM July 12, 2018. NHP says the reports were of a van being driven westbound in the eastbound lanes on Interstate 80 from Rock Boulevard in Sparks.

While working in an active construction zone on Interstate 80 near the Keystone Avenue offramp, a trooper saw the driver, still driving the wrong way. NHP says as the driver approached, the trooper used the overhead emergency lights to try to stop the driver. The trooper angled his car toward the van, at which point the two vehicles collided at about 20 miles per hour. The trooper was not hurt.

The suspect driver continued, drove past the trooper and continued the wrong way. The trooper turned around and drove in the westbound travel lanes; the wrong-way driver returned to the proper side of the highway near West McCarran Boulevard.

The van driver left I-80 at westbound Robb Drive at a speed too fast to safely take the turn, and crashed. 24-year-old Chancellor Nigri of Reno sustained minor injuries and was examined at the scene before being arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and driving the wrong way on a one-way street.

Troopers later determined the driver had hit another vehicle while traveling the wrong-way, causing minor damage.

In a statement, the Nevada Highway Patrol says it "has investigated several crashes in recent years involving wrong-way drivers to include a quadruple fatality crash on June 30, 2018. In some cases, impaired driving plays a part in these senseless crashes. NHP is reminding drivers to always have a plan if you decide to consume alcohol and/or controlled substances. Do not get behind the wheel if you are impaired. The cost of a Taxi, Uber, Lyft or even a hotel is significantly less expensive than a DUI arrest, ruining your own life or the life of another."

Photo courtesy NHP
Photo courtesy NHP
Mugshot courtesy Washoe County jail