Driver in wrong-way crash identified - FOX 13 News

Driver in wrong-way crash identified

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Authorities have identified the driver who caused a deadly wrong-way crash along Interstate 275 over the weekend.

Daniel Lee Morris, 28, was seen driving south at full speed in the northbound lanes of I-275 early Sunday morning.

He missed several cars before slamming into a car with four USF students inside.

Morris and the four students died in the collision.

The Hillsborough County Medical Examiner identified him Tuesday, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Morris had recently moved to Tampa from St. Claire Shores, MI, according to a media release from the Florida Highway Patrol.

He was staying with a friend in Tampa; he took his friend's white Ford Explorer the wrong way down the highway when he caused the crash.

FOX 13 has spoken at length with a woman who says she was Morris's wife, but otherwise did not want to be identified. She provided the following details:

She said she and Morris were married but separated, and that's why he was staying with his friend.

Morris had been drinking that night at the friend's house, and after they all went to bed, they heard Morris take the keys and leave.

They tried to follow him, but weren't able to locate him.

Morris's wife says he was likely headed to another friend's house at 50th and Broadway.

He was supposed to start a job Monday at the Port of Manatee.

FHP says investigators are working to determine whether drugs and/or alcohol were a factor in the crash.

As the Florida Highway Patrol tries to figure out where Morris got onto I- 275 going in the wrong direction, there's a statewide effort underway to make a wrong way crash nearly impossible in the first place.

Gary Catronio is spearheading an effort he calls "Marisa's Way," named for his daughter, who was killed in Broward County in November when a suspected drunk driver hit her on the Sawgrass Expressway.

"I'd better move on and be Marisa's voice now and correct this terrible wrong," he says.

Catronio is raising money, has spoken to state lawmakers and the DOT, in hopes of making changes to off-ramps that would prevent anyone from getting on.

"I have a strong belief we can slow this down and potentially almost stop it," he said.

There are a few big changes he wants to see:

First, he wants spike strips that would deflate tires if someone gets on going the wrong way.

Second, he wants more visible signs.

Third, he want to see sensors installed that would send out text message blasts to drivers in the area, and to 911, to beware of a wrong-way driver.

Though costs for all this are unclear, he says there's no need for any more of these horrific scenes.

"If we can save a life, how much value can you put on one life," he asks.

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