NATICK (CBS) – Four people were rushed to the hospital after a wrong-way driver crashed into an ambulance on the Massachusetts Turnpike early Wednesday morning.
Massachusetts State Police said a trooper spotted the driver going west in a Nissan Versa, speeding and weaving in and out of light traffic on the eastbound side of the Pike just after 3 a.m. in Brighton.
“The Trooper initially reversed direction and followed the vehicle on the eastbound side in an attempt to catch up to the driver and signal him to cease operation,” said State Police spokesman Dave Procopio.
But the wrong-way driver didn’t stop and the trooper was ordered not to chase him or follow him on the eastbound side of the highway.
The driver continued going the wrong way for about three more minutes.
Another trooper set up a tire deflation device in the eastbound lanes across from the Natick service area and the Nissan hit the spike strip. A few seconds later it slammed into an ambulance with a patient on board.
The wrong-way driver was rushed to Massachusetts General Hospital in critical condition. Two people working in the ambulance were also taken there with minor injuries. A patient in the back of the ambulance was brought to Tufts Medical Center with minor injuries.
Procopio said the wrong-way driver had no identification on him at the time of the crash.
“We believe we now know his identity but are still working to confirm that,” Procopio said in a statement. “The suspect vehicle had a license plate belonging to another vehicle attached to it.”
Investigators are still trying to figure out why the man was driving on the wrong side of the highway and where he got on the Pike. He’s expected to face criminal charges.
A truck driver, who would only identify himself as Sean, told WBZ-TV the wrong-way driver flew right past him.
“He was so close to me that I heard and felt the pebbles hitting the truck as I went by and it would have been disastrous if he hit the tractor trailer,” he said.
“This one was a real close call and it really puts things into perspective and makes you go home and kiss and hug your loved ones,” said Sean. “I counted my lucky stars that’s for sure.”
The eastbound side in Natick was shut down for about three hours for the cleanup and investigation. The highway re-opened to traffic just before 6 a.m.