ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Patrol officials said a wrong-way driver caused two separate crashes on State Road 528 Tuesday, but will likely not face charges.
Arnold Whigham, 78, of Orlando, was driving a white GMC pickup truck westbound in the eastbound lanes of State Road 528 near Dallas Boulevard at 4:29 p.m., according to authorities.
"He did not know where he was. He did not know he was traveling the wrong way," said Sgt. Kim Montes, spokeswoman for Florida Highway Patrol. "In order to charge someone we need to know that they know what they were doing was wrong."
The pickup truck drove about 8 miles in the wrong direction, causing two cars to crash while drivers were trying to avoid the truck.
A two-car crash happened at mile marker 24 and a single-car crash happened at mile marker 21, officials said. There were no injuries reported in the crashes.
Troopers said the pickup truck didn't hit any of the cars involved in the crashes.
Whigham was stopped by a FHP trooper at mile marker 16, which is near the 417 Expressway. Family members were called to the scene to take him home.
"The daughters that showed up on scene agreed they weren't gonna let him have access to a vehicle," Montes said. "They realize the seriousness of it. And really we got lucky yesterday because we were in daylight hours."
Montes told News 6 there have been nearly 300 wrong way drivers reported to FHP within the last year.
She also said Whigham entered the expressway at a point where experimental detectors, which would alert FHP to wrong-way drivers, were not installed.
She said callers alerting troopers to the situation saved lives.
"Focus on your driving because you never know when something like this will happen," she said. "A car comes out of nowhere and is coming toward you."
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