Mattapoisett Wrong-Way Driver Sends Hearts Racing on I-195
It had already been a long day for Stacy Preece from Mattapoisett. The single mom had finished up a 13-and-a-half-hour shift at Women and Infants Hospital in Providence. It was roughly 8:45 p.m.
Preece was nearing the Mattapoisett exit on I-195 East, almost home, when she saw a sight that she had never seen before.
"I had just switched lanes from the high-speed lane to the slow lane just after the Fairhaven/Mattapoisett line" while on speaker phone with her mom, she said. "I could see lights coming towards me in the distance."
For a split second, Preece was disoriented.
"I thought, Did I get off in Fairhaven and I'm on Route 6? Because I was on the phone I thought, I'm in the wrong, I'm not paying attention. But I was paying attention. Before I knew it the car was flying and passed me going the wrong way in the high-speed lane on 195."
Preece said there were "tons of cars." She said she immediately called 911.
"I could see their red rear lights in my rearview mirror."
The 911 operator asked Preece if she was calling about a white vehicle driving the wrong way on 195.
"We're doing our best," the operator said. "Are you OK?"
Physically, Preece was OK. Mentally? She was shaken to the core. She could feel the adrenaline creeping through her limbs and into her fingertips.
She wasn't the only one who had a near catastrophe.
Dylan Hunt called Michael and Maddie and told us that he was on his way home from a late football practice. The Bishop Stan High School junior described approaching the Mattapoisett exit on 195 East.
"I started to see lights get bigger and bigger. I swerved from the fast lane to the right lane, and that's when I saw a car in the fast lane zip by me going at least 80. I was in shock. I was glad I had enough time to move out of the way after seeing it, but if I looked down for a second I really think I would have gone straight into him."
Thankfully, Hunt, who has only had his license for four months, was driving defensively and could react in time.
A spokesperson for the Massachusetts State Police was unavailable for comment, but Mattapoisett Police Chief Andrew Murray said there were two vehicles involved in a crash as a result of the wrong-way driver. Incredibly, the occupants didn't appear to have any major injuries.
The wrong-way driver left with Massachusetts State Police, though a name wasn't immediately available. An investigation is ongoing.
"Everyone out there had angels watching over them," Preece said. "It could have been so much worse."
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