According to the Arizona Department of Public Safety, at around 11:00 p.m. on Tuesday November 20, a two car crash near Verrado Way in the Phoenix suburb of Buckeye caused a backup on I-10 and was followed by a fatal trucking accident. In the initial accident, a man, age 35, was traveling eastbound on I-10 with his wife, daughter, and mother-in-law in a Honda Accord. Following an argument, the driver reportedly pulled over and told his daughter and mother-in-law to get out of the car and then drove away, accelerating to an extremely high rate of speed, possibly as fast as 100 mph. According to Sgt. Jason Yeager of the Arizona Department of Transportation, “Once he entered the highway the second time he continued eastbound at a high rate of speed and at some point made contact with another vehicle at a very high rate and forced that vehicle off the road and it rolled.” Five children, ages 4-18, were ejected from the Suburban which rolled. Reportedly, none of the children were wearing seat belts, they sustained significant injuries, and two of the children remained at Phoenix Children’s hospital and were in serious condition as of the afternoon of November 21.
The driver of the Honda Accord involved in the initial crash was admitted to a hospital with serious injuries. Reportedly he will be booked into jail after he is released from the hospital for multiple criminal charges.
The Arizona Department of Public Safety said that around 45 minutes following the initial crash, a fatal trucking accident occurred when a semi truck crashed into another semi that had stopped due to the traffic back up from the crash involving the Honda Accord and the Suburban. Sgt. Yeager stated, “This very last semi truck unfortunately for whatever reason did not stop, collided with semi truck in front of him pushing it into four other passenger vehicles and then the load from that middle vehicle slid off and hit a third commercial vehicle. Unfortunately that last one caught fire and took the life of the individual that was driving it.”
Following the two crashes, I-10 was closed for approximately 12 hours.
While semi drivers are not always the initial cause of accidents, it is imperative that they are diligent about highway safety or they can make an already bad situation much worse, as was the case here. There has currently been no statement as to why the semi driver did not stop. However, in similar situations it has been the case that the driver was tired or not paying enough attention, or defective equipment and/or improper maintenance on the vehicle prevented him from stopping.