MESA, Ariz.- A wrong-way driver admitted to knowingly driving into oncoming traffic after taking 15 to 20 cough medicine gel tablets, according to court documents.
Warning labels advise consuming no more than 8 of the pills in 24 hours because of the ingredient, dextromethorphan.
The Arizona Department of Public Safety stopped and arrested Trent Walker, 32, Monday night when he drove the wrong way on US 60 in Mesa and caused 5 separate collisions on the freeway. Detectives also found empty cough medicine bottles in the car at the scene, according to court documents.
Walker traveled approximately seven miles the wrong way, drove directly at oncoming traffic and did not stop at any of the collisions, according to courts documents.
"My cousin screamed," said Sean, who said he narrowly missed a head-on collision with the suspect. "I saw all the cars moving to the right, and I seen a car just coming right at me."
Fortunately, all of the crashes are described as minor collisions. A DPS official said the driver was arrested after troopers cornered him on a freeway on-ramp.
Cpt. Tim Mason with DPS said the driver hit five vehicles while entering the off-ramp at Country Club Road.
A trooper saw the driver headed the wrong way while calls streamed into DPS's office, and troopers started working to stop the vehicle.
Mason said two troopers set up a traffic break at Val Vista Drive, but the driver went past before they were able to stop him.
Eventually the suspect was stopped at Val Vista Drive, when troopers converged on the driver as he tried to exit the freeway at an on-ramp.
DPS is investigating whether the driver was intoxicated.
In his first court appearance, Walker learned the reality of his accusations.
Detectives recommended 13 counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, five counts of criminal damage, five counts of failure to stay at the scene of an accident and one count of driving under the influence.
One of the 13 victims had the opportunity to ask the judge not to allow Walker out on bail.
"He's not safe and he shouldn't be out in society ... placing others in danger," he said.
Walker’s next court date is June 6 and there is a $50,000 secured appearance bond.
The investigation is ongoing.