Second wrong-way driver this week kills 3 more on freeway

So it’s been a bad week for Phoenix/Valley motorists; 5 dead in two head-on freeway collisions. Plus a bunch of serious injuries. Though presumably just a statistical coincidence to have two such fiery crashes in such a short amount of time, it certainly can serve as a reminder of the general dangerousness of traffic.

In the 1st incident on 5/12/2014 shortly after midnight off duty Mesa Police officer Brandon Mendoza; and wrong-way highly intoxicated Raul Silva Corona both died after colliding head-on. [Officer Mendoza’s case was mentioned in Families of slain Arizona officers wait for federal benefit, noting that a $340,000 federal benefit to the families of police officers killed in the line of duty isn’t available under federal benefit rules. Federal rules do not include driving to or from work to be “line of duty”]

In the 2nd incident 5/16/2014 on I-17, dead are; Evan Christian Hendriadi, 50; Jenny Sudjono, 70; and Lioe Kim Tjhiuw, 78. That crash left three others with serious injury (4 counting the wrong-way driver, a man in his 60’s who is suspected of being impaired. [minor UPDATE: police/DPS still haven’t named the driver. I was told on 8/1/2014 this is still the case because the suspect is still in the hospital, and has so far not been charged]

Other Random Motoring Mayhem

Brittany Nolan was charged with 2nd degree murder in connection with running her boyfriend over while he walked in a bike lane on Jan 25, 2014, and then fleeing the scene. The victim, Jacob Rice, was found the next morning dead.

Seriously injured by out-of-control driver while walking on the sidewalk — Seriously how often does this happen?

kpho reports: An Arizona State University graduate and his mother were hit by a suspected drunken driver in Tempe … Wednesday 5/14/2014… The Tempe Police Department said the investigation revealed Andrew Merriman, 22, of New River was driving a 2009 Ford Mustang and had just left El Hefe Bar on Mill Avenue when he lost control of the vehicle on Fifth Street … He then struck a mother and son walking on the sidewalk. Denise Durocher was in town from Idaho to see her son, 30-year-old Anthony Pelot, earn his master’s degree when police said Merriman barreled into them on the sidewalk”

Pelot was injured, and Durocher was seriously injured; Tempe spokesman Sgt. Pooley described as “life changing” injuries. On the sidewalk? Seriously, how often does this happen?

Merriman’s case CR2014123113 was dismissed w/o prejudice (can be re-filed) in June. I don’t know / can’t tell why; as of October 2014 it appears to have not yet been re-filed.

5 thoughts on “Second wrong-way driver this week kills 3 more on freeway”

  1. I like your style of reporting. The driver struck and killed pedestrians. Our local media disassociates the crash by calling it an accident and additionally by stating that the vehicle struck and killed the pedestrians. One point to the positive is that the Florida Highway Patrol no longer use the term accident, as a matter of official policy.

  2. Thx Fred — you know about probably?
    I guess I would say the campaign to change the terminology more broadly, though, has stalled. The Federal gov’t intiative goes back to 1997 — yikes that was 17 years ago!
    Good to hear about any progress, though. If you can find a press release or whatever about FHP plz forward it.

  3. Thanks for the link. I wasn’t aware there was an initiative so long ago and obviously so ineffective. I attempted to find FHP press releases or similar but failed. Some of the public faces for the FHP appear to have forgotten, but they are the minority, generally speaking.

    During a cycling safety class, the instructor pushed home the point that “accident” was unacceptable during class and should be replaced with a more appropriate term, usually crash.

    During any conversation henceforth, I would then say “crash!” immediately after someone else saying “accident.” It was received with humor but some people just didn’t catch on.

    I think few people realize just how powerful our language can be, especially terms that are placed into common use, albeit incorrectly.

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