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88-year-old man in serious condition after wrong-way collision on I-182

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PASCO, WA - A wrong-way driver on I-182 is in serious condition after causing a head-on collision just after noon on Thursday, May 17, causing the eastbound lanes to be shut down for a couple hours.

Police say the wrong-way driver, now identified as 88-year-old John Charles Hockett of Pasco, was going westbound in the eastbound lanes. He was stopped when his truck collided head-on with a semi truck driven by 38-year-old Flabia F. Machuca-Ayala of Pasco, sending Hockett to Kadlec in serious condition. Machuca-Ayala was injured and transported to Lourdes Medical Center. 

Officers blocked off the eastbound lanes of I-182 between 20th and 4th Avenues near the Red Lion due to the collision that happened at about 12:15.

Troopers tell us Hockett drove about one to two miles before he crashed head-on into a semi truck. Police don't know exactly when he got on the wrong side of the highway, but they started getting 9-1-1 calls from people near the Pasco-Kahlotus exit.

Hockett and Machuca-Ayala were the only two people involved, which Trooper Chris Thorson with Washington State Patrol says is really lucky given the circumstances.

"Anytime you drive the wrong way on a major highway, multiple miles, you're putting a lot of people in danger," Trooper Thorson said.

We also spoke to an eyewitness who called 9-1-1. She says she was driving the other way on the freeway when her friend started screaming that someone was going the wrong way... an image that she says she won't soon forget.

"Just seeing the truck fly with all of the stuff falling off of it, I was like 'woah,'" said Katherine Wiese. "That's never going to leave my head; that's going to be stuck in it forever."

Hockett was charged with negligent driving in the second degree.