CINCINNATI – A man said he feels “lucky to be alive” after a drunk wrong-way driver hit his car when he was driving home early Sunday.
Ryan Whitney was driving north on I-471 in Newport at about 3 a.m., just a few minutes from his home near Eden Park. He saw headlights coming his way. He tried to avoid the oncoming vehicle.
“She swerved toward the middle lane, so I swerve back over toward the left lane, and so we clipped on our passenger side, and I spun out toward the guard rail,” Whitney said.
The car was totaled, all the windows broken and even one of the rims was broken in half, he said.
Whitney grabbed his phone and jumped over the guardrail. He never got to see the other driver.
“They said she was too drunk to function, and did not have any idea what was going on,” he said.
Whitney said he felt fortunate to not have been seriously injured.
“I’m very lucky not to have been hit head-on,” he said.
Not everyone is as fortunate as Whitney. Recently, a wrong-way driver caused a crash on I-75 that killed him and another couple. The driver had reportedly been drinking before the crash.
Also, on Saturday a motorcyclist was killed after he crossed the double yellow line and collided with a SUV and another motorcycle. Deputies said they suspected alcohol was a factor in that crash.
Of the 761 highway fatalities in Kentucky last year, nearly 20 percent involved alcohol, according to officials with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. More than 30 percent of the 1,030 fatal crashes in Ohio last year involved alcohol, according to the Ohio Department of Public Safety.
“The big takeaway that I want people to have is to realize … you’re not only putting yourself in danger,” Whitney said. “You’re putting countless other people in danger.”