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Wrong-way driver arrested on I-275, faces DUI charge

TAMPA — A police officer who narrowly averted a collision with yet another wrong-way driver on Interstate 275 turned around and arrested the man early Sunday.

Josean Carrasquillo, 25, was charged with driving under the influence. There were no injuries or crashes caused by the wrong-way incident, police said.

According to authorities, Tampa patrol officer John Stanjeski was traveling southbound on I-275 near the Howard Avenue exit at about 3 a.m. Sunday as Carrasquillo was driving northbound on the inside lane. The officer had to swerve to avoid colliding with him, Tampa Police Lt. Ashley Roberts said.

"(It was) split-second — it was very quick," she said. "He had to veer off and immediately pull the person over to deter any sort of civilian crash."

A DUI unit arrived on the scene and noticed that Carrasquillo had red eyes and slurred speech, and smelled of alcohol, according to authorities. Two tests placed his blood-alcohol level at 0.165 and 0.159, police said.

Carrasquillo was released Sunday morning on a $500 bond. He works in security at MacDill Air Force Base, according to a Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office jail log.

There have been numerous wrong-way driving incidents on I-275 this year, many involving drivers under the influence. Florida Highway Patrol has used increased traffic patrols to target wrong-way and impaired drivers.

Eleven people have died in wrong-way accidents on Tampa Bay area interstates this year, according to the Florida Highway Patrol, but tragedy was prevented in this instance, Roberts said.

"The officer did an outstanding job — without a doubt, saved the lives of folks that were traveling southbound on the interstate this morning," she said.