TAMPA — A wrong-way driver caused three crashes along a three-mile stretch of Interstate 4 before he was stopped by deputies early Sunday, the Florida Highway Patrol said.
Deputies believe Terrence Murphy, 28, of Tampa, was intoxicated when he got behind the wheel of a 2011 Dodge Journey and began driving east in the westbound lanes of I-4.
Investigators are still trying to determine where Murphy entered the highway and when he started driving the wrong way.
The first of the crashes came at 6:20 p.m. when a driver was forced to swerve into a barrier wall to avoid hitting Murphy head-on near the 50th Street interchange, the Highway Patrol said. Murphy kept driving and forced a second motorist to steer out of his path and into another westbound vehicle near the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard interchange, the Highway Patrol said.
Then, as Murphy approached the Orient Road interchange, a third driver was forced to take evasive action and crashed into a barrier wall.
Still, Murphy kept driving east for another 20 miles to County Line Road, where deputies from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office managed to stop him, the Highway Patrol said. Murphy nearly hit one of the deputies’ vehicles.
The condition of the three drivers involved in the crashes was not immediately known.
Murphy faces charges including leaving the scene of a crash with property damage, driving under the influence with property damage or personal injury, reckless driving with property damage or personal injury and leaving the scene of a crash with serious bodily injury. His bond is set at $10,750.