Caught on camera: backwards driver in Fort Myers

Posted at 10:32 PM, Mar 23, 2016

Christopher Cowles has been a driver for LeeTran for 20 years, so he spends a lot of time on the roads.  But he says he's never seen anything like he saw on his way home from work Tuesday.

His drive to and from work is usually pretty routine.  He takes State Road 82 from his Lehigh Acres home to his job at LeeTran and back.  He knew something was off when on his way home Tuesday night, cars veered off the road.

"I was like, 'holy cow this guy is coming right at me,' then I realized, he wasn't coming at me, he was going away from me," said Cowles.

Another car was driving backwards in the eastbound lanes of traffic.  Cowles got his smartphone out and started recording.  "Not even looking forward, just had his hand on the steering wheel, looking behind him.  I was going 45 to 50 miles an hour, and this guy was pulling away, I didn't even know a car could go that fast in reverse."

The driver whipped into the parking lot of the CVS at the intersection of State Road 82 and Colonial Boulevard. 

Cowles says he was afraid to confront the guy, because he was unsure of his mental state.  "I just saw him jump out of the car, and then he just stood there and I lost sight of him."

Florida Highway Patrol Spokesman Lt. Greg Bueno says the driver won't be charged because no officer saw him driving backwards. 

But Cowles saw it, and it was enough to scare him,  especially on a road with a dangerous reputation.   "As you watch the news there is constantly head-on collisions, fatalities, there's two or three crosses on the side of the road."

Lt. Bueno says driving the wrong way is a misdemeanor, unless the person is committing another offense such as reckless driving, or DUI.  He says in some cases, people are driving the wrong way because their vehicle is disabled.