(WJW) – Video released to the FOX 8 I-Team shows a wrong-way driver barreling up I-271, but 911 recordings show witnesses couldn’t give police what they needed most.
We’ve found it’s a common problem as people report a wrong-way driver. Often, witnesses find themselves shaken and confused as they’re desperate to get out of the way.
The I-271 case happened earlier this month.
One 911 caller said, “Somebody’s driving the wrong way. Somebody’s driving the wrong way. I don’t know. I just passed somebody.”
A dispatcher responded with, “271 southbound or northbound?”
The caller answered, “Um, the other way.”
So, the dispatcher said, “I don’t know what the other way is.”
The I-Team obtained video from highway cameras put up by the Ohio Department of Transportation, 911 calls and Beachwood Police body camera video.
A driver kept going up I-271 going northbound in the southbound lanes.
But, many witnesses had trouble explaining that and other details that could help police.
Another caller said, “I’m on 480 coming from Euclid.”
So, a dispatcher asked, “You were on 271?”
A dispatcher also asked a caller, “Could it have been a mini-van?”
The answer was a very hesitant, “No, no. Well, maybe.”
And, a dispatcher also asked, “Do you know what type of vehicle?”
But, the answer was, “I don’t know.”
Callers even showed confusion over the timing. One said it happened, “Like five minutes ago. Maybe three minutes ago.”
Meanwhile, a 911 call came in for a car that crashed while swerving to get out of the way of the wrong-way driver. Police body camera video shows an officer ask, “Is this your car? Is anybody still in it?”
The answer came from across the highway, “No.”
Beachwood Police officers scrambled to sort it all out when they finally caught a break.
Highway video shows the wrong-way driver finally stopped while facing the wrong direction.
That ended the threat, but not the mystery.
Body camera video shows an officer approaching the wrong-way driver, saying, “What’s going on?”
The driver answers, “Nothing. I’m just headed to (unintelligible).”
The officer then asks, “OK, do you know where you are right now?”
The driver then says, “No.”
Just last week, the I-Team revealed a wrong-way driver who’d gone about ten miles in Cleveland before getting stopped by police.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol says if you call 911 about a wrong way driver, stay calm and maybe pull over. Give dispatch the highway you’re on, the direction you’re going and the nearest mile marker or main exit.”
No question, when a wrong-way driver terrorizes your highway, the top priority for witnesses is getting out of the way.
The top challenge for police is getting a few more clues to help stop that driver.
Beachwood Police say, in this case, they were waiting to decide on any charges for the wrong-way driver until after they got test results back from their investigation.