PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It could have been deadly, a man driving for miles in the wrong direction on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. That man was in court today to answer the charges against him.

Nicholas Greiner, 24, of Coraopolis, made his first court appearance on Thursday morning for an incident that allegedly happened back in January. He waived his right to a preliminary hearing.

State police say Greiner drove his black Chevy Cruze in the wrong direction on the Pennsylvania Turnpike for about eight miles, entering the eastbound lanes in Donegal and driving west toward New Stanton.

“Preliminary hearing at this level, there’s not much to challenge, so we waived it into court,” said Daniel Hargrove, the defense attorney. “We’ll be up there in May.”

The Turnpike had to be temporarily closed after numerous other drivers called 911 to report the car traveling in the wrong direction.

When police arrived, Greiner had already pulled over. Investigators say he was intoxicated.

“He’s a good kid, this was an aberration,” said Hargrove. “That’s all I can comment on right now.”

State police say it is very difficult to end up driving the wrong direction on the Turnpike; and driving the wrong way on that highway is more dangerous than most other roads.

“You’re stuck in basically like a fatal funnel while you’re traveling on the Turnpike,” Trooper Steve Limani, of the Pennsylvania State Police, said. “There’s only your lane, the adjacent lane and maybe some improved berm if you’re lucky for you to try and escape a vehicle that’s traveling at you.”

Here are some things you may not know:

  • Pennsylvania leads the nation in wrong way traffic fatalities
  • DUI is the most common reason
  • Most of those crashes happen between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.

State police say when it comes to driving the wrong direction on the turnpike, any crash can be catastrophic.

“There’s very… probably you’d be looking at a fatal type crash, very violent and it would be horrific if we had crash of that nature on the Turnpike,” added Trooper Limani.

Greiner is charged with DUI, driving on a suspended license and driving in the wrong direction.

Pa. Leads Nation In Wrong Way Traffic Fatalities (2/8/13)
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