Close call: Wrong-way on interstate prompts reckless charge
An evening out with a friend in Crozet ended with a close call for a Charlottesville traveler headed eastbound on I-64 on Saturday night, August 3, after encountering another driver going the wrong way on the interstate.
"I see these headlights coming toward me," says Belmont resident Jenny Mead, who didn't realize what was happening until the other vehicle had passed.
"Fortunately, it was in the other lane— the passing lane," says Mead, who quickly exited the highway and called 911.
"They told me there had been many calls," she says. Shaken by the close call with a possible high-speed, head-on collision, she attempted for several days to find out the circumstances behind the wrong-way driver.
"I couldn't get any answers," she says.
According to Virginia State Police spokesperson Corinne Geller, the driver of the wrong-way white, 2004 Kia was 84-year-old Albemarle County resident Frances Shisler, who entered the interstate at the Shadwell exit and continued on against the flow of traffic for six miles until she was stopped by police at exit 118.
"I realized as soon as I did it," said Shisler, reached by phone. She said she'd been to the Moose Lodge east of Charlottesville and explained that she continued driving west even as 70-mph traffic rushed toward her because "there was no place to turn around."
"I've been driving since I was 10 years old, and this is my first ticket," said an irate Shisler, noting that no drivers that night— including her— had reason to fear.
"God above was riding with me," she said, telling the reporter who'd called her that the interview was over.
"I think you need to change your cotton picking ways," she said, before hanging up.
Shisler was charged with reckless driving in the incident and a hearing was scheduled for August 20 as this paper was going to press. According to court records, the charge was dropped. A message left with the Albemarle County Commonwealth's Attorney's office was not immediately returned.