Wrong-Way Driver Also Drunk

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The recently released court records of the wrong-way driver accused of killing a Phoenix Fire Department dispatcher show the man’s blood-alcohol content was nearly four times the legal limit when he was arrested.

3 Questions

Officers responding to the scene of the accident reported finding Stephen B. Martin, 39, lying behind his damaged Chevrolet SU. At that point they asked him three short questions:

  1. Was the SUV his?
  2. Was he driving the wrong way?
  3. Had he been drinking?

His respond to each question? “Yeah.”

Wrong-Way Accident

Martin has been accused of causing the accident that killed Phoenix fire dispatcher Megan Lange and injured several others. The blood sample taken when Martin was taken to a local hospital showed his blood-alcohol content to be 0.313 percent. In Arizona a driver is considered to be legally drunk at 0.08 percent.

Attempt to Prevent Accident

Prior to the accident, an Arizona Department of Public Safety Officer noticed Martin’s white 1996 Chevrolet Tahoe driving southbound on the northbound lanes of I-17. He tried to create a traffic break in order to stop other cars from advancing toward the SUV. When Martin swerved to avoid the DPS officer he caused the fatal collision.

No Condition to Drive

According to court records, Martin admitted he knew he was in no condition to drive when he decided to get behind the wheel. “But I needed to get my girlfriend, she was being raped,” Martin said in the police report.

Martin’s girlfriend also told police she knew Martin was driving against the flow of traffic. But that he also could not find a place to turn around before causing the collision.

Another victim in the accident estimated the SUV was driving about 40 to 45 mph.


Martin was arrested on suspicion of endangerment and aggravated assault. That is the standard Arizona charge for suspected DUIs with injury. It’s expected that an additional charge relating to Lange’s death will be added later on.

Previous Charges

In 2006 Martin was arrested in Phoenix for driving under the influence of marijuana. According to court records, at the time of that incident police had pulled Martin over for driving in multiple lanes. He pleaded guilty to possession and use of marijuana and was charged with one count of possession of marijuana. He received one year of unsupervised probation.

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