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DPS speeding crack down leads to arrest of 131 mph driver

PHOENIX — A stretch of highway in North Phoenix looked more like a drag strip this weekend.

Arizona Department of Safety Highway Patrol officers arrested a man accused of driving faster than 130 miles per hour on State Route 51.

Around 1:30 p.m. Sunday, an officer in a fixed-wing aircraft spotted a red 2014 Ford Mustang driving faster than double the speed limit in the left lane of the highway.

“It was very fast,” ADPS Highway Patrol officer and pilot Andy Dobis said. “To see a vehicle driving twice the speed limit, I could tell it was a red sports car and it was passing everybody.”

Dobis said he immediately alerted a motorcycle officer on the ground that the driver was heading southbound near Northern Avenue. When the driver spotted the officer, he abruptly slowed down to 20 mph forcing the officer to speed past the car.

The Mustang then made a sharp right turn and cut across several lanes of traffic. It eventually collided with another car.

“That’s a large amount of energy moving down the road at 130 miles per hour,” Dobis said. “So when it stops suddenly in a collision, that’s why we were so worried when this happened.”

ADPS officials said there were no serious injuries and the driver of the mustang, 22-year-old Alejandro Barraza, was arrested.

Last Saturday and Sunday, ADPS had extra eyes in the sky along the 51 as a part of speed and dangerous driving enforcement operation. Officers totaled 72 airplane-derived traffic stops, and the average speed of all vehicles stopped was 91 mph in a 65 mph zone.

Barrazza is accused of being the fastest of the drivers stopped over the weekend. He was allegedly averaging 131.5 mph.

According to the arresting officer, Barraza stated he was glad DPS did not catch him while traveling 160 mph earlier.