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Driver in fatal Interstate 17 crash charged with murder

PHOENIX — The driver of a van that slammed into a semi-truck on Interstate 17 just north of Phoenix has been charged with second-degree murder, court documents showed.

Police said the driver, James Edward Washington, III, drifted out of his lane Monday morning and hit the disabled truck parked on the shoulder. Washington never braked, police said.

Washington’s two passengers were killed while he sustained minor injuries.

On Tuesday, Washington was charged with second-degree murder, endangerment and criminal damage. He admitted he was under the influence of methamphetamine and heroin after a drug test.

A loaded handgun was found in the car and drug paraphernalia was found at the scene of the crash.

The crash blocked all but one lane on I-17 and snarled traffic for hours.