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DPS: Wrong-way driver who crashed on SR51 was driving 99 mph

KNXV Justin Lopez.jpeg
Posted at 1:34 PM, Mar 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-21 16:53:58-04

PHOENIX — Authorities say a man that drove the wrong way on State Route 51 earlier this week was speeding nearly 100 miles per hour.

According to court paperwork, Justin Lopez was arrested around 11:50 p.m. Tuesday after he crashed near SR51 and Thomas.

Troopers initially tried to stop Lopez near I-17 and Camelback Road, in which he was recorded going 98 miles per hour. A Phoenix police helicopter followed Lopez and said he exited the freeway at Camelback going 99 mph.

Lopez drove on surface streets before entering onto SR51 going the wrong way at Osborn Road. Troopers say Lopez went southbound in the northbound lanes until crashing into the median near Thomas Road.

The three people inside the vehicle ran after the crash, but all were apprehended a short time later.

DPS says Lopez had red, watery eyes and dilated pupils, along with slurred and incoherent speech, according to court paperwork. Troopers received a search warrant and drew his blood for testing, though the results were still pending as of Thursday.

Lopez faces multiple charges, including aggravated DUI and two counts of unlawful flight from law enforcement. The two people in the car with Lopez were released without charge, DPS said.

Lopez, who was previously released March 5 after entering a guilty plea in a burglary, theft and drug case, was held without the possibility of release.