NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – What caused a Nashville woman to drive the wrong way down Interstate 65 last Thursday morning?
Brentwood police have yet to interview Sandra Sharp so they don’t know where she got on and how long she was driving southbound in the northbound lanes. What they do know is that no one was seriously hurt when a Brentwood police officer stepped in to stop the wrong-way driver.
While officials investigate the case, the Tennessee Department of Transportation is launching a wrong-way driving initiative to study how on ramps can be made safer.
“The thought of a wrong-way driver killing an innocent motorist is something we hate to hear about, and we always want to know is there something we could have done to stop that,” explained B.J. Doughty, the Community Relations/ Communications Director for TDOT.
Interchanges called partial clover leafs like the on and off ramps at Concord Road in Brentwood are the types of ramps TDOT plans to study first. These locations have exits and on-ramps right next to each other on the same side of the road.
TDOT plans to look at signage but also would consider other safety measures, like spikes on ramps that deflate tires for cars traveling the wrong direction.
Doughty told News 2, “In the long run, that is more cost effective than rebuilding an interchange. Some of these interchanges we are talking about that may or may not be confusing were built decades ago.”
Brentwood police have not charged Sharp for driving the wrong way on the interstate, pending the outcome of a toxicology report. She had no arrest history but she was cited in 2006 in Davidson County for driving the wrong way.
According to the Department of Safety, four people have died since 2013 from wrong way driving on interstates in Davidson and Williamson counties. There have also been at least 14 incidents where people were hurt or property was damaged from these types of accidents.