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Man Drove Wrong Way For 18 Miles On Busy Roadway In Region, Police Say

The wrong-way driver made it 18 miles on State Route 17.
The wrong-way driver made it 18 miles on State Route 17. Photo Credit: Google Maps street view

A confused 86-year-old wrong-way driver made it 18 miles navigating his way driving the wrong way in opposing traffic before ultimately safely coming to a stop in the region with an assist from State Police in Sullivan County.

At approximately 3 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 25, New York State Police Troop F received a report of a suspicious vehicle driving the wrong way on State Route 17 in the area of Hancock in Delaware County.

In total, police said that they received approximately 30 phone calls regarding the wrong-way driver, though none were able to give an adequate description of the vehicle, and responding state police and Delaware County Sheriff patrols were unable to locate it.

At approximately 6:15 a.m., Delaware County 911 and Sullivan County 911 centers started receiving additional phone calls that a vehicle was traveling eastbound in the westbound lanes west of exit 92 in the East Branch area, a hamlet in Delaware County.

Troopers from the State Police barracks in Liberty responded and coordinated a road closure of Route 17 east of exit 94 and were able to stop the vehicle after he was driving the wrong way in opposing traffic for at least 18 miles.

No injuries were reported.

The investigation into the incident determined that the 86-year-old man was from Ithaca, had not returned to his home last night, and was reported missing by his wife earlier that morning.

Police said that the man was confused and suffers from dementia. He was transported to the Garnet Medical Center-Catskills for a physical and mental evaluation.

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