AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - A California man is facing intoxicated assault charges after driving a moving van in the opposite lanes of traffic on Interstate 40 Thursday morning, according to the Amarillo Police Department.
Officer Jeb Hilton said the wrong-way driver, identified later as Willie James Brantley, caused multiple crashes along the interstate, including two law enforcement units and an ambulance.
Brantley's van and an attached sedan were first spotted by authorities near the Bell St. exit around 12:30 a.m. An APD officer and Potter County deputy were both westbound on the interstate when Brantley reportedly closed in.
The police unit slowed to avoid collision, causing the trailing deputy to collide into the back of the car.
Hilton said the car being towed wrecked into a semi truck as Brantley continued east. Medical personnel also responding to the general area then crashed their ambulance into the back of the semi.
Brantley's wild drive came to an end near 1700 I-40 E, about 5 miles from where officers first spotted him.
He was booked into the Potter County Detention Center on a single charge of intoxicated assault on a peace officer, stemming from the collision between the two law enforcement vehicles. Hilton said the Amarillo officer was taken to an area hospital in what was believed to be life-threatening injuries, but was later released. The deputy was not injured.
Speed and narcotics are believed to be factors in the incident. An investigation is ongoing.