A tow truck hauls away a car on Quinnipiac Avenue in Wallingford Thursday afternoon following a wrong-way driving incident on Route 15. | Lauren Sievert/Record-Journal

Police: Wrong-way driver causes crashes

WALLINGFORD — Quinnipiac Street was closed Thursday afternoon as police tried to sort out details of a wrong-way driver that caused three accidents on Route 15.

At about noon, a man began driving southbound on the northbound side of Route 15 between exits 63 and 64. One car tried to veer out of the way of the wrong way driver and was side-swiped.

Christopher DeChamps was driving in the left lane near exit 63 and saw the cars in front of him veering out of the way. DeChamps said he saw a car coming toward him and he veered to the right lane, but couldn’t avoid being struck because if he veered more, he would have struck the car in the right lane. The driver’s side of DeChamps car was struck, breaking off the side mirror and causing damage. DeChamps said if he had allowed his car to be struck head-on, it might have stopped the man.

There were no injuries reported, state police said. The wrong way driver, identified as Michael Cohen, 50, of 1 Linden Place in Hartford, drove into a gas station rest stop along Route 15, made a U-turn and drove back down the highway in the right direction, exiting onto Quinnipiac Avenue. A woman was following Cohen and called police.

Officers were able to locate and follow Cohen on Quinnipiac Avenue, according to Wallingford Police. The street was closed while police from Wallingford, North Haven and State Police investigated the incident. The street was opened shortly before 1 p.m. after a black Acura with heavy damage to the side and an airbag deployed on the driver’s side was towed away

State Police Lt. Paul Vance said Cohen was charged with driving under the influence and other motor vehicle charges. He was released on a $1,500 bond and is due in Meriden Superior Court June 13.

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