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Valley family hopes for changes after wrong-way crash in Phoenix

Romsen Badalpour
Posted at 4:27 PM, Feb 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-03 19:36:16-05

PHOENIX — A Valley family hopes for changes after a wrong-way driver killed their oldest son in a crash in Phoenix this past weekend.

Phoenix firefighters responded to the crash near Interstate 17 and Greenway Road on Friday night.

Authorities say they learned a sedan was traveling the wrong way on the Greenway Road off-ramp when it crashed head-on with another vehicle heading south on the off-ramp.

When officials arrived on scene, they located the wrong-way driver, 38-year-old Marshall Wray, who was pronounced dead on the scene.

The second driver, 35-year-old Romsen Badalpour, was transported to a nearby hospital in critical condition, but he also died from his injuries.

“I’m not supposed to bury my son, he’s supposed to bury me,” said Albert Badalpour, the victim’s father.

Badalpour has lived in Peoria, but just bought a house in the Norterra area that he just moved into days before the crash.

The family wants to know how this crash happened, “there was a crash, that was the end,” said Badalpour’s father, “but how did this crash begin, what was he doing, what condition was he?”

The Badalpour family says they know the Valley has problems with wrong-way drivers, and they will push for needed changes.

“I’ve decided I’m going to be a big advocate for this, that’s going to be one of his purposes, that I don’t want him to die in vain, were going to make sure something is done with these wrong way driving,” said Badalpour’s mother.

In July of 2020, state transportation officials said wrong-way detection systems has proven reliable, according to an evaluation, and that it is being expanded throughout the Valley.

ADOT officials said in July that thermal cameras to detect wrong-way drivers were installed along a portion of Interstate 17 as part of a pilot program.

They went on to say in the summer that the system has also been installed at most interchanges along the Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway. They are working on installations along Loop 303 and it will be added on Loop 101 east of the I-17 and south of US 60.

Additionally, ADOT has made thermal cameras already used along L-101 (at 59th, 67th, 75th and Northern avenues), I-17 (at 19th Avenue and Jomax Road), Interstate 10 (at 27th and 91st avenues), and intersections along SR-347 to send alerts when a wrong-way driver is detected.

ADOT has thermal cameras along a 15-mile stretch of Interstate 17, but officials say the detection would not have triggered at this crash site.

In an email, a spokesperson said, “This crash appears to have occurred in an area prior to the point where the wrong way detection system would be activated. The Phoenix Police Department investigates crashes on city streets and ADOT cannot comment on an ongoing police investigation.”

The detection system is not on city streets, which are not operated by ADOT, they added.