Wrong-way driver nearly hits Tampa police car

Posted at 7:13 AM, Mar 20, 2016

A Tampa police officer took evasive action to avoid a head-on collision with a wrong-way driver on Interstate 275 at Fowler Avenue early Sunday, authorities said.

Shortly after 5 a.m. Sunday, Tampa police officer S. Van Treese, who is a member of the police department's DUI unit, was traveling northbound on I-275 on his way home at the end of his shift.

As he approached Fowler Avenue, the officer spotted a southbound vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed, heading directly toward his cruiser, a Tampa Police Department news release states.

Van Treese took evasive action narrowly missing colliding with the vehicle driven by the wrong-way driver.

A second Tampa police officer, Gregory Murphy, saw the wrong-way vehicle, a 2010 gray Honda, exit the interstate in the wrong direction at Busch Boulevard. Murphy pursued the vehicle and made a traffic stop.

Murphy saw signs the driver may have been impaired, the release states. A DUI unit was called to the scene to conduct a field sobriety test.

The driver, identified as Aja Cancela of Riverview, was arrested and taken to central breath testing at the Hillsborough County Jail . She faces a charge of driving under the influence.

No injuries were reported.