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I-11 deadly crash raises questions, driver made illegal U-turn

LAS VEGAS - On Tuesday, Aug. 14, two people were killed in a fiery crash which shut down the I-11, a new highway, opened less than one week.

Some drivers are voicing concerns about this new stretch of interstate.

"It's been less than a week, what else can we expect?" I-11 driver Gary Johnson said.  

Crews wrapped up construction Aug. 9 on the I-11 bypass.

"What the heck causes somebody to do something like that,?"  Paul Sheffield, a truck driver wanted to know following a head-on crash on I-11 that left two people dead from Ohio dead. The crash was caused by one of the drivers making a U-turn.

"We have no way to determine why they would have done that," said NHP Trooper Travis Smaka.

Christopher Levo, 63, of Ohio, made an illegal U-turn, drove the wrong way on the highway and hit another car head-on.

RELATED: First fatal crash on new I-11, 2 dead, 1 critical

"That's why we ask people to drive defensively," Trooper Smaka said. "You never know what's going on in the minds of the people around you."

Nevada Department of Transportation says the road meets every national safety standard. Spokesman Tony Illia released the following statement:

“The newly opened freeway meets all current Interstate Highway Design criteria, as outlined by the U.S. Department of Transportation. This is a federally designated interstate with very specific design criteria for materials, construction, access and signage, among other things. However, the department will continue monitoring live traffic patterns over the newly opened interstate, making future operational adjustments as necessary, ensuring motorists remain safe and connected.” “The department continues working with third-party navigation apps, but there is often a lag time for the technology to catch up with the latest road conditions. We caution people not to rely too heavily on navigation applications. Not all of them are accurate. Meanwhile, the department works with Waze to inform the public about planned highway restrictions, although unscheduled construction changes, closures and restrictions are possible due to weather or other factors. (Waze is currently routing motorists through the new Interstate 11 alignment). For the latest state highway conditions, motorists can visit nvroads.com or call 511 before driving.”


But NHP says, no matter how advanced a road seems, accidents can happen anywhere.

"You can't account for human error," Trooper Smaka said.

 So, any driver should keep an eye out. Especially as you travel through unknown territory.

"Slow down a little bit, it's a beautiful road," said Marc Rose, I-11 driver. 

Both people who died in the crash were in the car police say made the illegal U-turn. The people riding in the other car survived. 

This marks southern Nevada's 52nd deadly highway crash this year.
 


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