Wrong-way drivers were all intoxicated, records show

- It seems like it happens every weekend, and this weekend was no exception. Around 5 a.m. Sunday morning, Tampa police officer Scott Van Treese witnessed a wrong-way driver first-hand.

Dashcam video captured the DUI officer narrowly dodging the wrong-way driver, traveling south in the far left northbound lane of I-275. Officer Van Treese radioed in for help, while a 911 caller followed the wrong way driver's trail in the adjacent southbound lanes.

Another Tampa police officer caught up with the driver as she exited I-275 on the Busch Boulevard entrance ramp. Aja Cancela, 34, was arrested for DUI. The 911 caller said she entered the interstate at Bearss Avenue, where flashing wrong-way signs line the ramp.

"She seemed more concerned about why the officers weren't out arresting murderers and drug dealers, rather than accepting the consequences of her action. She definitely did not think that she should be arrested," said Tampa police's Andrea Davis.

Her arrest comes one week after Hillsborough County Deputy John Kotfila was killed by a wrong-way driver on the Selmon Expressway. That driver, who died in the crash, was also drunk -- Erik McBeth's blood alcohol level came back at .27, over three times the legal limit.

"There's one common denominator to almost 99 percent of these wrong-way crashes, and that's alcohol or drugs or both," Mothers Against Drunk Driving's Linda Unfried said.

She's right. FDOT has a record of more than 100 wrong-way driving arrests in the Bay Area since April of 2014.  Alcohol was determined to be a factor in every case.

"That just baffles me that people don't stop and think, 'I could take a life tonight.'  No one goes out and does this purposefully, but today with all the education there is, they are not accidents, they are crashes," Unfried continued.

There's been a lot of buzz about installing spikes onto the ramps along the interstates to stop wrong-way drivers. FDOT has looked into it. They say the spikes don't cause tires to deflate quickly enough to prevent a car from getting on the interstate in the wrong direction. They say tire spikes are designed for low-speed locations like parking lots and garages.

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