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Wrong-way driver

An Arizona Department of Public Safety officer cleared traffic on the westbound I-40 as a wrong-way driver collided head-on with the officer's vehicle. AZDPS has released video footage of the crash.

On Nov. 17 around 3:30 p.m., AZDPS received calls about a reckless driver, Patricia Carvalho, 32, driving on the sidewalks nearly hitting vehicles on Milton Road. 

An officer located the vehicle on the I-40 westbound and initiated a traffic stop. Carvalho fled and made the decision to drive east on the westbound I-40 while her 2-year-old daughter was in the car. Carvalho was under the influence of alcohol at the time.

Dashcam video shows two officers on the westbound interstate driving toward the last known location of the vehicle. As the officer with the dashcam pulls off the road, the second officer attempts to clear a vehicle off the center roadway, using what is called a "traffic break" maneuver.

The officer in the roadway stays in the center of the roadway as Carvalho's red Nissan Rogue barrels down the highway. Carvalho collides into the front of the trooper's vehicle, and remains stationary after the crash.

Other motorists' lives may have been saved by the officer's actions, Frank Milstead, director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, said.

“It’s a stark reminder of the risks that impaired drivers pose to the public and to our troopers, who selflessly put themselves in harm’s way to stop them,” Milstead said.

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The officer and child were taken to the Flagstaff Medical Center and treated for minor injuries. Carvalho's injuries were more serious, but not life-threatening.

Carvalho has been charged with attempted second degree homicide, aggravated assault, endangerment, aggravated DUI and child abuse.

The woman's daughter was placed in the custody of Arizona Department of Child Services.

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Scott Buffon can be reached at sbuffon@azdailysun.com, on Twitter @scottbuffon or by phone at (928) 556-2250.

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Senior Reporter - Cops, Environment

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