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    Sunday, June 16, 2024

    Stonington police stop wrong way driver heading for I-95

    Stonington ― A police officer was able to intercept a wrong-way driver early Sunday morning just before he could get on Interstate 95 in the wrong direction.

    “This incident is a great example of pro-active policing and how the quick actions of an officer can avert a tragedy,” said Deputy Chief Todd Olson on Monday.

    Sgt. Ryan Rogers, a seven-year veteran of the department, was patrolling in the area of Pequot Trail at 2:45 a.m. on Sunday when he witnessed a red GMC Sierra pickup truck heading onto the off ramp in the wrong direction toward I-95 northbound.

    “The officer was able to catch him on the off-ramp just before he got onto the actual 95,” said Olson.

    A record of arrest states that the driver, Victor Bassett, 25, of Stonington, seemed confused or intoxicated when Rogers spoke with him.

    After the arrival of other officers, the pickup was moved to a safe location and officers conducted a field sobriety test, which Bassett failed. The vehicle was also found to have an expired registration.

    Olson said Bassett failed a subsequent breathalyzer test administered at the department. He was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and illegal entry onto a limited access highway.

    “It was good police work,” said Olson, “this would have been a tragedy.”

    The northbound off-ramp is directly across the intersection from Pequot Trail, and this is not the first incident at that location.

    In 2010, a driver drove up the off-ramp at Exit 91 and continued south in the northbound lanes until he smashed into a car near Exit 90, killing himself and the other driver.

    Over a 14-month period that began in 2019, seven people died in Stonington as the result of wrong-way drivers on Interstate 95.

    In October 2019, a Westerly teen driving the wrong way in the area of Exit 92 struck another car, killing herself and an elderly couple in the other car. Three others were hurt.

    In March 2019, a man driving his car the wrong way, again in the area of Exit 91, struck a truck, killing himself and the truck driver. The crash involved four vehicles and 10 people, including one who was seriously injured.

    In December 2018, a Groton man driving the wrong way on the highway near Exit 91 struck another car, killing his passenger and a passenger in the other car.

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