Just before 6 a.m on Saturday, Aug. 22, Arizona State troopers received 911 reports of a wrong-way truck traveling northbound within the southbound traffic lanes of I-17 at milepost 244 near Black Canyon City.
Trooper Jeremy Barr initiated a traffic break within the southbound traffic lanes of I-17 at milepost 256, south of Cordes Junction, in order to slow down traffic and preventing a high-speed, head-on collision between the wrong-way truck and the unsuspecting motoring public. Barr was able to conduct the traffic break for a mile before locating the wrong-way truck within a blind mountain side curve. Barr sped away from the traffic break, aimed for and struck the front-left corner of the wrong-way truck. Both vehicles came to rest between the median and traffic lane #1.
The wrong-way driver, identified as 48-year-old Timothy Dwayne Harjo of Wickenburg, was transported from the scene as a precautionary measure with minor injury to a Phoenix area hospital. Harjo was arrested by state troopers upon his release from the hospital and booked into the Maricopa County jail for aggravated assault, endangerment and DUI.
Barr was transported to a Phoenix area hospital with non-life-threatening upper and lower torso injury. Barr is a 12-year department veteran and has faced six wrong-way vehicles during his career; he successfully stopped five of them. This was his third collision with a wrong-way vehicle.
The I-17 southbound lanes were closed from 5:45 a.m. thru 10:32 a.m. for the investigation.
“Trooper Barr’s heroic actions unequivocally saved lives today,” said Col. Frank Milstead, the director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety during a press conference Saturday afternoon.
Arizona State Troopers want you to call 602-223-2129 if you saw this wrong-way truck or had it travel past you on Saturday morning.