Troopers: Man drives 5 miles in wrong direction on I-77, causes - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Troopers: Man drives 5 miles in wrong direction on I-77, causes head-on crash

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Two cars collided head-on after a driver went the wrong way down I-77 early Monday morning.

Police say this wasn't the first time the driver responsible for the wreck was involved in this sort of incident.

"It kinda threw me out...it threw me off for a second," said Muse Kidane, moments after witnessing the horrific crash.

"I don't see accidents often, not something live in front of me, you know. It's something I haven't witnessed before," Kidane added.

Kidane was one of many drivers who spotted a car driving the wrong-way down I-77, near the Clanton Road exit, around 12:30am.

The State Highway Patrol said the driver, Herbert Phillips, made it about five miles, traveling southbound in the northbound lanes between Clanton and Tyvola Roads.

Troopers tried to head Phillips off as witnesses followed the man feeding officials with reports on their location.

But before the SHP could get there, he collided head-on with another car.

Phillips' vehicle was struck on the driver's side fender, spinning the car around 180 degrees on the freeway.

Emergency personnel arrived moments later. They found one car, but Phillips disappeared.

Medics took the victim to the hospital, with what police describe as bruises and cuts, but they say Phillips should be okay.

It wasn't until troopers started following the tire tracks that they said they finally located the original vehicle, buried deep in the woods off the road about a hundred yards away.

Phillips was pulled out, and was tended to by paramedics. He was eventually taken to Carolinas Medical Center after taking a breathalyzer test.

Troopers said they didn't smell any alcohol on him, and this could have simply been a medical problem.

The trooper in charge of the investigation says Phillips caused a similar, wrong-way crash in the past. He is charged with DWI, driving with a revoked license, careless and reckless driving and driving the wrong way.

I-77 was closed for close to an hour while wrecker crews removed both cars from the scene.

Copyright 2013 WBTV. All rights reserved.

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