Driver in wreck that killed 3 GCU students jailed on murder counts

Oct 31, 2022, 1:05 PM | Updated: 1:11 pm
Vincent Ian Acosta (Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Photo)...
Vincent Ian Acosta (Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Photo)
(Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Photo)

PHOENIX – The driver accused of causing the wrong-way freeway crash that killed three Grand Canyon University students earlier this month has been arrested on multiple counts, including second-degree murder, authorities said Monday.

Vincent Ian Acosta, 25, of Phoenix’s Laveen neighborhood was booked into Maricopa County Jail on Friday on three counts of second-degree murder, 11 counts of endangerment and two counts of aggravated assault, the Arizona Department of Public Safety said in a press release.

Hunter Elaine Kinohi Balberdi, 19, Abriauna Brook Hoffman, 18, and Magdalyn Louise Ogden, 18, were killed in the Oct. 10 collision on Interstate 17 near Table Mesa Road, past New River.

The three women, all freshmen, were suitemates. Hoffman and Ogden were from Clarkston, Washington, and Balberdi was from Wailuku, Hawaii.

DPS said Acosta was driving southbound in the northbound lanes in a Toyota SUV that hit a Honda sedan carrying the three students as well as a Nissan sedan and a commercial vehicle around 4 a.m.

The drivers of the Nissan and commercial vehicle sustained injuries that weren’t life-threatening.

Acosta was found unconscious at the scene and then taken to a hospital with serious injuries. At the time, DPS said impairment was suspected as a factor in the wreck.

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Driver in wreck that killed 3 GCU students jailed on murder counts