Chief Flynn discusses wrong-way crash, critically injured officer

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn made his first comments Thursday since one of his officers was critically injured by an alleged drunk driver in a crash on I-94 early Wednesday morning, September 5th. 23-year-old Erin Salmon is accused of driving the wrong way on the freeway. Salmon was also critically injured in the crash.

"Until people realize that those vehicles are deady weapons and the people that drive them seriously drunk need to feel the consequences of the law just as much as somebody does lugging around an illegal weapon, we're going to continue to have these events," Chief Flynn said.

Milwaukee County Sheriff's officials say they will pursue felony charges against Salmon.

Officials say Salmon was driving the wrong way on I-94 near 30th Street, without her headlights on, when she hit the vehicle driven by 31-year-old MPD Officer Joshua Albert -- headed home from District 3 after his shift.

This crash was Milwaukee's 20th wrong-way driving incident just this year.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation says the problem is most likely more of a social issue than an engineering one. Most often, alcohol is involved in these types of wrong-way crashes.

"The problem with wrong-way drivers is generally, when these incidents occur, they usually have devastating effects," Waukesha County Sheriff Steve Pederson said.

Wrong-way freeway driving is a nationwide problem, and some states are installing flashing lights around wrong-way signs -- even puncture sticks to prevent cars from going the wrong way.

In Wisconsin, the Department of Transportation says it has been working with the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office for several months trying to find answers, even before Wednesday's accident.

"When we get a  report of a wrong-way driver our best case scenario is that we have enough assets, and I'm talking three to four squads that are right there in the area that can immediately deal with the situation -- maybe stopping traffic ahead, maybe closing some on ramps," Pederson said.

Chief Flynn was expected to speak to the media Thursday evening before heading into the Fire and Police Commission meeting.

Monitor FOX6 News and for updates on this story.

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