Arizona DPS trooper shoots, injures wrong-way driver

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An Arizona Department of Public Safety trooper on Friday shot and wounded a man driving a semitrailer truck the wrong-way into traffic after he reportedly fled from a vehicle inspection stop, according to officials. 

The shooting occurred east of Flagstaff on Interstate 40.

DPS officials reported that a trooper stopped the truck for a vehicle inspection. Prior to the stop, the trooper noticed the driver and the passenger switched places.

During the stop, someone notified troopers that they saw passengers in the truck throw something into the median. Troopers later discovered a “package filled with white powdery substance in the median,” according to a DPS news release. 

The two occupants initially got out of the truck but one got back in and drove away, according to officials. The driver drove through the median to avoid tire deflation devices troopers had placed in an attempt to stop the truck.

The driver then tried to run into troopers before he drove across the median, heading westbound on the eastbound lanes of I-40, according to the news release. 

“The suspect’s dangerous actions immediately placed the lives of the motoring public and pursuing troopers in peril,” according to the news release.  

Officials reported a trooper positioned himself on the Walnut Canyon overpass and fired his rifle at the driver, injuring him.

The driver was treated at a hospital and is expected to recover, officials said.

The truck crashed into another commercial vehicle before stopping. Injuries from the collision were minor. 

DPS did not release the name of the driver, but described him as 35 and from Virginia. He has a history of arrests in several states for drug use, violent crimes and weapons violations, officials said. 

The man faces charges including multiple counts of endangerment, aggravated assault, possession of narcotics and unlawful flight. 

Breaking News Reporter, Alyssa Stoney, can be reached at alyssa.stoney@arizonarepublic.com. Follow her on Twitter @stoney_alyssa

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