Wrong-way driver charged with DWI after nearly hitting other cars on I-45

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A wrong-way driver has been charged after several near-misses with other drivers on the North Freeway overnight.

Elizabeth Nichols, 22, is in custody.

Cell phone video captures the moment drivers were heard hitting their brakes as Nichols, who police say was driving a red Kia at 60 miles per hour north in the southbound lanes, headed toward them around 12:40 a.m. Wednesday.

Police believe she may have entered the freeway the wrong way at Crosstimbers.

Patrol officers shut down the freeway ahead of Nichols to prevent a head-on crash.

Authorities say they were able to get her to stop near Aldine Bender. She was given a field sobriety test and arrested.

No one was hurt.

"She is showing obvious signs of impairment. At this time, she is going to be transported to our intox station where she will undergo a more in-depth field sobriety test," said Lt. S. Reece with the HPD DWI Task Force.

Nichols is charged with driving while intoxicated, a misdemeanor, and possession of a controlled substance, which is a felony.

Police say she also had a baggie of cocaine.

This is the second time within a few days that a wrong-way driver was on I-45.

On Saturday morning, investigators say 28-year-old Nicole Bertoldi was driving the wrong way when she hit a car head-on and clipped another on 45 southbound at West Dallas.

Bertoldi has been charged with intoxication assault.

RELATED: Dashcam video shows moments before wrong-way driver slams into vehicles on I-45

Officers advise drivers on the freeway at night to stay in the far right hand lane to minimize the possibility of being hit by a wrong-way driver.

"I would recommend having some options in the middle. You can veer to the left or you can veer to the right, so you're not up against a retaining wall. Some parts of the freeways don't have shoulders. You may not have an option to move over," said Capt. Kenneth Campbell with HPD Traffic Enforcement.

Authorities also suggest that drivers "look at the exit ramps when you are driving down the freeway. See if you can see a car entering the freeway. That's going to be the first telltale sign how they got on to the freeway to go the wrong way," Campbell explained.

Police and the district attorney's office say they will be looking into where Nichols was coming from Wednesday morning.

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