Wrong-way driver arrested for DWI after police find him passed out in car on Southwest Freeway

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Houston police say they found a wrong-way driver who appeared to be drunk passed out behind the wheel on the Southwest Freeway.

Calls started to come in around 2 a.m. Wednesday about a driver spotted at Chimney Rock going north in the southbound lanes of the freeway.

The man managed to get to the Kirby exit, where police caught up with him.

The suspect's car was parked in the mainlanes. Officials say his doors were locked and he was asleep inside the vehicle.

After a wrecker was called and they pulled the driver out, police say he was given a field sobriety test, where he appeared to have trouble walking a straight line.

"He does appear to be intoxicated. Right now, we are conducting the investigation. He will be taken to our intoxication area to be tested," said HPD Lt. Larry Crowson.

He was taken into custody.

HPD says it will turn the investigation over to the district attorney to determine what charges the suspect could face.

There's no word on how he entered the freeway the wrong way. However, police do have tips to help you look out for a wrong-way driver.

Officials say wrong-way crashes are more prevalent overnight, especially in the early morning hours. Eighty percent of the crashes happen between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.

In Texas, most of these wrecks happen in the 2 a.m. - 3 a.m. hour.

The crashes tend to happen on Saturday and Sunday. Friday is the third most prevalent day of the week for wrong-way crashes.

If you're on the freeway during the time frame when wrong-way crashes are most likely to occur, police say you should stay in the right lane (slow lane) to avoid hitting someone who could be in the fast lane.

Don't try to follow the driver. Instead, move over to the shoulder and call 911 to report the sighting.

Also, check reflectors on the road. If you see red reflectors, it means you're going the wrong way.

HPD says it receives between two to 10 reports of wrong-way drivers on the freeways a month.

On average, about 360 people die nationwide every year in wrong-way crashes.

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