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Stolen vehicle led to crash in Phoenix that killed 3, injured 7, police say

(AP Photo, File)

PHOENIX — A five-vehicle wreck involving a Phoenix bus that left three people dead and seven injured Thursday was caused by a driver in a stolen car, authorities said.

Raymond Montgomery, 33, allegedly punched a woman he knew near 17th and Missouri avenues and then stole her 2010 Cadillac SRX at about 3:45 p.m. on Thursday, Phoenix Police Sgt. Ann Justus said in an email Friday.

Less than five minutes later, police responded to a collision involving five cars at 7th and Missouri avenues.

Witnesses said they saw Montgomery in the Cadillac driving eastbound on Missouri Avenue and ran a red light at 7th Avenue at a high rate of speed, smashing into a white Honda Civic carrying a mother and her two children traveling southbound on 7th Avenue, according to police.

The occupants of the Civic, 45-year-old Courtney Lonergan, her 18-year-old son Ali Geer and 16-year-old female Almira Geer, all died from the collision.

The Cadillac and Honda then crashed into a Dodge Ram pickup truck carrying a 38-year-old man and a child, sending the child to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

Force from the crash pushed the Dodge Ram into a city of Phoenix bus. The 59-year-old bus driver and two passengers suffered minor injuries.

The stolen car also struck an adult female pedestrian crossing on the east side of Missouri Avenue, police said. The pedestrian was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Prior to coming to a stop, the Cadillac hit a Chevy Malibu waiting at Missouri Avenue at a red light. The driver of that vehicle was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Montgomery was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

On Friday evening, he was released from the hospital and booked for three counts of first-degree murder, one count of robbery, one count of theft of means of transportations and seven counts of endangerment.

Police said DUI charges are pending lab results.

During the investigation, police learned the Cadillac was traveling 97 miles-per-hour seconds before the collision and approximately 78 miles-per-hour immediately prior to impact.

The victim of the robbery positively identified Montgomery and he admitted to driving the Cadillac, police said.

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