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Ride-share driver narrowly escapes crash with oncoming traffic as SUV hops median

Posted at 10:27 PM, Mar 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-04 09:17:27-05

TEMPE, AZ — A terrifying close call was captured on a Valley driver's dashcam recording. The driver is sharing his story and a message to other drivers.

First, the noise. Then, the surprise.

"I thought this was my time,” said Bahjat Orfalli. “Honestly."

Orfalli drives full-time for a ride-sharing service.

"So, I spend most of my time on the roads around the Valley,” added Orfalli.

On Wednesday, he was driving westbound on Baseline Road, with a client in his car, and was starting to slow down to turn onto eastbound Interstate 10.

"Then I hear some kind of noise coming from my left side. Suddenly, I realize there was a car jumping in front of me,” added Orfalli.

His dashcam video shows the SUV crossing over and missing him by just inches.

"I think if I wasn't driving slowly, paying attention to the surroundings, and with God's care, you would not be interviewing me right now," added Orfalli.

Seeing it up close, Orfalli says, was scary. A Tempe Police Department officer calls the video eye-opening.

"That was close,” said Sergeant Hector Encinas. “That was …that was close."

Sgt. Encinas believes things could have been worse.

"That thing is coming across out of control. I mean, you're talking, he could have hit that vehicle and that vehicle could have spun out and hit several other vehicles at that time of day,” added Sgt. Encinas.

The date on the dashcam video reads June 2020. ABC15 asked about that. Orfalli says it's off because he hasn't reset it. But, signs of the incident being more recent are clear. You can still see the clipped tree, uprooted bush, smashed dirt, and tire marks on the curbs.

"I just stopped the car. I tried to steer away, but there was no room for me. I just put it in God’s hands,” added Orfalli.

"We are not going to be able to prevent everything, right? So, we have to be attentive and careful when we are driving out there and be aware of our surroundings,” added Sgt. Encinas.

Police dispatchers never received a report, Sgt. Encinas says, but Orfalli emailed ABC15 to make drivers aware.

"Accidents like this, people need to know about it because it could happen with anyone and they need to be sure they are safe,” added Orfalli.