After seeing story after story about deaths resulting from accidents caused by people driving the wrong way down Florida Interstates and highways, one construction worker took action last week when he was confronted with a similar situation.
According to a report from WTSP TV, Ed Heitner, a project superintendent for Tampa-based Prince Contracting, was driving south on I-275 early Thursday morning when he saw headlights appear over the hill—coming directly at his truck.
Heitner told the station that he slowed down and tried to block the wrong-way driver from continuing down the highway, noting that as they approached one another, the driver attempted to avoid him a few times.
“We played a cat and mouse game,” Heitner said. “She stopped 6 feet in front of the truck, I jumped out (saying), ‘Stop stop stop.'”
Heitner then got out of his truck and approached the driver, a woman in her 70s, and asked if she knew she was driving the wrong way. She said no and looked confused, he told the station, and said that she needed to leave in order to pick up her sister and drive her the airport. He convinced her to wait for the Florida Highway Patrol to arrive. Troopers then escorted the woman back home.
Luckily for Heitner, the woman wasn’t drunk or impaired as were some of the seven wrong-way drivers who caused accidents in the Tampa area in recent months. Otherwise, he might not have been able to slow the woman down at all. Nonetheless, Heitner said he felt compelled to intervene. “I was concerned she would travel past me and hit someone head on. I felt I need to do something so we don’t have a repeat of what’s happening on the interstates. When she stopped I was thankful she stopped,” he told the station.