Wrong way driver goes 23 miles on I-85

6:54 PM, Nov 1, 2012   |    comments
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David Collazo (Courtesy of Gwinnett County Police)

DULUTH, Ga. -- Police say a Duluth man accused of driving the wrong way on I-85 for at least 23 miles, was drunk.

Gwinnett County Police arrested 36-year old David Collazo around 4 a.m. on Thursday morning and charged him with driving the wrong way, speeding, DUI and reckless driving.

11Alive obtained the 911 calls made to dispatchers in Gwinnett County. Drivers reported seeing Collazo going between 80 to 100 miles per hour. One witness said he was going so fast, he couldn't even describe the car.

A DOT spokesperson says tips started to come in around Clairmont Road in DeKalb county. Officers from DeKalb, as well as Gwinnett, where he was eventually stopped just south of Sugarloaf Parkway, followed him for miles.

11Alive morning anchor Karyn Greer was one of those drivers to call 911. She spotted Collazo near Shallowford Road on her drive into work. Greer remembers the horror of seeing headlights coming straight at her.

"My whole car shook as he flew past me. That car was going so fast. Had he hit me head on or even clipped me, I would have been dead," said Greer.

Since August, five people in metro Atlanta have died in wrong way crashes. At least four other people were critical injured. Research shows the majority of wrong way drivers are impaired by either drugs or police say in Collazo's case, alcohol.

You could hear the relief in dispatchers voices when Collazo was stopped. " Oh, praise the Lord," said one. "It's just a miracle he didn't hit anybody," said another.

"It was really very eye opening because you never imagine it happening to you as much as you cover it. So I thank God it wasn't my time," said Greer.

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