MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A deadly wrong-way wreck forced crews to shut down a stretch of lanes on a Miami-Dade expressway for hours Friday.

That crash claimed the life of a 69-year-old man and hurt three others including a police officer.

Crash on the Don Shula shuts down traffic

Crash on the Don Shula shuts down traffic (CBS4)

It happened on the southbound lanes of the Don Shula Expressway near Killian Parkway around 2:30 p.m.

“Three vehicles involved. It could’ve been a lot worse. Even though we did lose a life today, it’s a very tragic accident,” Miami-Dade Police Detective Argemis Colome said.

Detectives say the 69-year-old driver of the Volkswagen was heading north in the southbound lanes for roughly three miles. He then slammed into a Miami-Dade police cruiser. Next, the Volkswagen struck a white Jeep.

A different Miami-Dade officer spotted the driver traveling in the wrong direction near the SW 152nd Street exit.

“He immediately gets on the radio and advises what he saw. He makes a U-turn, however, he did not get up to the vehicle in time,” the detective said.

As for the officer involved in the crash, she was taken to Jackson South Medical Center. At last check, she was stable.

The wrong-way wreck caused delays in the area

The wrong-way wreck caused delays in the area (CBS4)

A 49-year-old woman and a 50-year-old man who were inside the Jeep were also taken to the hospital and were stable.

Detectives are thankful more people were not involved.

“It could’ve been a lot more vehicles due to the rush hour and being an expressway where vehicles are not traveling 20 or 25 miles an hour,” the detective said.

Investigators are now waiting on an autopsy to see if it will explain more about what led to the driver traveling the wrong direction.

The name of the driver has not been released.

Ty Russell