The 67-year-old driver had not responded to police signals that he should pull over and stop, and instead drove into the police car which had parked in the right hand lane.
The driver and a police officer were both injured in the crash and both cars were totalled in the accident, with wreckage scattered across the road.
The Tulln fire department said that the man had been driving in the wrong lane of the S5 road for several kilometres before the collision happened.
A highway patrol car had followed him and stopped in the opposite lane with flashing lights, to get the man to stop. One officer had got out of the car and was signalling the driver to pull over and realise his mistake. He jumped aside as he realised the driver was not going to stop, but his colleague inside the car was less fortunate and received the full force of the crash.
The errant driver was trapped in his wrecked Mercedes and had to be freed with hydraulic rescue equipment. He was taken to hospital with serious injuries, as was the wounded police officer.
The S5 had to be closed in the direction of Krems for two hours. It’s not clear why the man was driving on the wrong side of the road, or why he refused to stop. The St. Pölten prosecutor has ordered that he provide a blood sample to see if he had been drinking.
On Thursday radio station Ö3 reported that the number of wrong-way driver incidents last year was 358, the lowest since records began 20 years ago.