Wrong-Way Driver Arrested, Accused of Driving Drunk
A scary situation on the highway - with an allegedly drunk wrong-way driver - brought to an end by police.
Gahanna police made the stop early Friday morning on I-270, near the Broad Street exit.
Police say the alleged drunk driver had receipts in his car from several bars at Easton and the credit card on him, to match those receipts. Officers believe he started drinking by at least 11 o'clock last night, and when they stopped him three hours later, they say he was drunk.
Calls to 911 alerted police to the wrong way driver:
“Caller: They are in the northbound lane driving south. They're driving the wrong way on the freeway. Dispatch: Ok.”
“Caller: It's a newer car, but he almost hit me. Dispatch: Do you know what color it is? Caller: I couldn't tell. He's flying.”
Just after 2 a.m. on Friday morning, a Gahanna police officer spots the wrong-way driver on I-270.
“With oncoming traffic, traveling at 65 approximately miles per hour, that could be easily very horrendous, if not fatal, crash,” said Gahanna Police Lieutenant Dan Williams.
At that hour, the officer didn't know why the driver was going the wrong way, but he knew he had to stop him.
So, once both cars came to a stop, the lieutenant says the alleged drunk driver didn't even put his car in park when he got out. His car, we're told, rolled into this police cruiser, scraping the side.
After a bit of a struggle, police arrest the driver, police arrest 36-year-old Jack Berno III, after he refused a sobriety test.
“In my 18 years, I have never encountered a wrong way driver. Officer Utt has had an occasion to do it very successfully twice in twelve months. Both times, outstanding instincts. Immediate reaction, and most certainly saved the motoring public from a very, very horrible crash,” said Williams.
Police say this is the fourth time Berno III has been arrested for drunk driving. He's now facing several charges, including OVI and driving on the wrong side of the road.
He's expected to be arraigned on Monday.