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Deadly west Phoenix collision claims 4th victim

The driver who was in a Monday morning collision in west Phoenix that killed three children has also died, according to Phoenix police.

Matthew Dejarnett was driving eastbound on Southern Avenue near 59th Avenue when he was hit by a 16-year-old driver of a Dodge Caravan heading west and carrying six other children. The minivan rolled over after hitting Dejarnett’s vehicle and some of the children were ejected from the Caravan. One of the children died at the scene, and two were later pronounced dead at a Valley hospital. Dejarnett became the fourth to die in the accident, as he was pronounced dead at a hospital Monday evening.

The driver of the minivan and one other child have incapacitating injuries and another child, a 3-year-old female, remains in critical condition, according to Sgt. Trent Crump.

Crump said Dejarnett was alone in his vehicle and properly restrained. His airbags deployed, but they were not enough to ultimately save his life.

None of the occupants in the minivan were restrained properly, Crump said.

Witnesses said the driver of the minivan was going at a high rate of speed when he made an unsafe passing movement to the right of other traffic where the street narrowed to a single lane. The driver appeared to have over corrected in getting back onto the road and he lost control of the vehicle, Crump said.

Detectives evaluated the 16-year-old driver and said he showed signs of impairment. The driver is unlicensed, but was carrying a driver’s permit.

Crump said the investigation is ongoing.