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Phoenix police chief on fatal wreck: ‘Not seen any kind of impact like that’

Phoenix Police Officer Ginarro New getting his badge from Chief Jeri Williams in 2019. New was killed on May 30, 2021, when a red-light runner slammed into his patrol vehicle. (Twitter Screenshot/@PhoenixPolice)

PHOENIX – Jeri Williams said Wednesday that, in her three decades of police work, she hasn’t seen anything like the crash that killed Officer Ginarro New.

“We need folks to slow down on our roadways,” the Phoenix police chief told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show.

“Truth be told, I’ve been doing this job 32 years; I’ve not seen any kind of impact like that in my 32 years.”

New, 27, was killed Monday night when a car sped through a red light and slammed into his police cruiser at Greenway Parkway and Cave Creek Road.

The driver of the car, 31-year old Christopher Castro, also died in the wreck. Police said they believe speed and impairment were contributing factors.

Surveillance video from inside a business at the intersection obtained by AZ Family showed New’s cruiser go airborne upon impact.

Police said New’s vehicle went through a block wall before landing on its side in a parking lot on the southeast corner of the intersection.

New, who joined the force in July 2019, is survived by his wife, mother, brother and grandmother.

The Phoenix Law Enforcement Association is holding a fundraiser for New’s family Thursday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. at its office near 11th Avenue and Adams Street. Donations can also be made on the PLEA website.

“People in the community have been extending and showing their support for us and for the New family,” Williams said. “So we appreciate that very much.”

Local police have long been concerned about the dangers of red-light runners.

According to a 2019 report from AAA, Arizona has the highest per-capita rate of fatalities caused by red-light running in the nation.

Williams said the department has increased its number of motorcycle units as one way to address the problem.

“We’ve also launched a campaign through the city where we’re trying to educate folks on looking and seeing, and stop speeding through the city streets as well as pay attention to the red lights and yellow lights,” she said.

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