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SUV crashes through overpass wall, lands on Phoenix freeway, killing 5

(DPS Photo)

PHOENIX — Five people were killed when their SUV crashed through a concrete wall on an overpass and landed on Interstate 10 in west Phoenix, bursting into flames.

Arizona Department of Public Safety officials identified the woman as 39-year-old Durjuana Miller of Phoenix, who was the driver. The names of the four boys who died weren’t immediately released, but DPS officials said they were ages 8, 6, 3 and 3 months.

Investigators were trying to determine why the vehicle went off the 79th Avenue overpass onto westbound freeway lanes below around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday.

DPS officials said the vehicle tumbled end over end after crashing through the barrier at 79th Avenue before landing on all four wheels in the dirt median, where it exploded and burst into flames.

State trooper spokesman Raul Garcia said the driver came up the HOV lane exit too quickly to make the right hand turn. There were skid marks before the SUV crashed through the wall.

“There was skid (mark) on the ground, so the driver tried to slow down but was not able to negotiate that corner,” DPS Capt. Damon Cecil said.

DPS officials said investigators were trying to determine the cause of the crash. They’re also awaiting the results of toxicology tests on Miller from the Maricopa County Medical Examiner’s Office, which could take up to two weeks.

“Investigators are talking to everybody,” DPS Director Frank Milstead said. “Nobody has said there is anything going on at this point in her life that would make this a realization (that it was intentional). We will let the investigators figure out the facts.”

Milstead said the SUV was traveling at an excessive speed and left skid marks
on the freeway along with a large V-shaped hole in the concrete barrier.

Capt. Stephen Reutter said, “We lost five lives in this tragic event, it is nights like these that will stay with you the rest of your life.”

KTAR’s Jim Cross and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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