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Laughlin couple among 5 dead in wrong-way crash in Arizona

Updated May 25, 2019 - 5:00 pm

Two of the five people killed in a wrong-way crash Friday, on Interstate 40 near Kingman, Arizona, were an older couple from Laughlin, according to the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

The two Nevadans killed in the crash, which happened about 9:05 a.m. 14 miles southwest of Kingman, were 82-year-old Harold Wayne Wickham and 90-year-old Ella Wickham, both from Laughlin, according to the Arizona department website.

The other victims were identified as 57-year-old Tsun Tong Chan, 54-year-old Wai Kam Ngai and 21-year-old Ching Kwong, from New York City.

The department said Harold Wickham was driving a white 2010 Nissan sedan east in the westbound lanes, when it collided with the other car, a black 2015 Honda sedan. Harold Wickham died at the hospital, while the other four people died at the scene.

The crash remained under investigation Saturday afternoon, the department said. Further information was not available.

The problem of wrong-way drivers in Arizona has become so serious that state lawmakers last year made it a felony to drive the wrong way while impaired by alcohol or drugs.

Transportation officials have installed a first-of-its-kind system to detect wrong-way drivers. Thermal cameras positioned at off-ramps along a 15-mile stretch of freeway in the Phoenix area alert authorities when a vehicle enters the freeway in the wrong direction.

Larger and lowered “Wrong Way” and “Do Not Enter” signs also have been installed on hundreds of freeway ramps and overpasses in Phoenix and rural state highways.

In another wrong-way wreck in Arizona earlier this month, a female driver slammed head-on into a vehicle on Interstate 10 in southern Arizona, killing a woman and her two adult sons. A third son was hospitalized with serious injuries. The woman traveling alone in the car that caused the May 5 crash also died.

Four people died in March when a pickup truck traveling the wrong way on a remote stretch of Interstate 10 in western Arizona collided head-on with a van carrying British indie-pop duo Her’s.

Review-Journal staff writer Katelyn Newberg contributed to this story.

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