LAVEEN — A driver was killed after traveling the wrong way and crashing into a semi truck early Saturday morning on the new stretch of South Mountain Loop 202 between Elliot and Estrella avenues.
According to the Arizona Department of Public Safety, they received a 911 call regarding a wrong-way vehicle traveling northbound in the southbound lanes of SR-202 in the area of milepost 67 (Vee Quiva Way) around 2:45 a.m.
DPS says 31-year-old Josafath Rubio-Hernandez collided with a semi truck in the Elliot Road area. Hernandez was pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver of the semi-truck was not injured.
DPS said impairment on Hernandez's part has not yet been ruled out in the crash, and they are continuing to investigate the incident.
This is the first fatal wrong-way crash in 2020 and on the new South Mountain freeway, which opened in late December.
ABC15's Operation Safe Roads reporter Megan Thompson reached out to Arizona Department of Transportation to ask whether the new freeway included wrong-way detection radars like the pilot program on I-17.
.@ArizonaDOT has now responded to our request after someone was killed in a wrong-way crash on the new Loop 202 this morning. They do NOT currently have wrong-way detection. It is “planned,” but that plan is still in the works. #abc15 https://t.co/eU3oaYHOrp— Megan Thompson (@MeganABC15) January 4, 2020
According to ADOT, wrong-way detection is planned for L-202 South Mountain, but an exact date was not provided.
"Wrong-way detection is planned for the Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway, to be completed with the addition of intelligent transportation system technology that includes installing fiber-optic cable," ADOT said in a statement to ABC15. "Beyond thermal camera detection, elements to be installed on the South Mountain Freeway will be determined as part of ADOT's evaluation of the I-17 pilot wrong-way detection and warning system."