6-year-old boy killed in Scottsdale crash; arrest possible

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by The Associated Press and Catherine Holland, azfamily.com

Video report by Marie Saavedra

Posted on June 18, 2013 at 7:08 AM

Updated Friday, Jun 21 at 1:27 PM

Map: Loop 101 and Hayden

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Authorities say a 6-year-old boy died after the minivan he was in crashed into a light pole in Scottsdale.

It happened at about 11 p.m. Monday in the westbound lanes of Loop 101 near Hayden Road.
 
Police say the Jerry Frias, who was in the back seat with his 15-year-old brother, died at the scene. The teen was injured, as well, but is expected to recover.

Jerry had just graduated kindergarten at Fowler Elementary. His 3 siblings say he was a character who loved playing with friends and making them laugh.

His mom, Kathy Frias, was driving. According to police, a 25-year-old man sitting in the passenger seat suddenly leaned over and grabbed the steering wheel.

Kathy Frias told 3TV Tuesday afternoon that the man was a family friend who has struggled with mental illness. She says he was angry about a discussion they were having when he grabbed the wheel and sent it jerking back and forth. Police say he could be facing arrest.

Police told 3TV's Tess Rafols that they suspect "some kind of criminal activity," but they do not believe drugs or alcohol were factors in the crash.

Frias lost control of the vehicle when the man grabbed the wheel. Markers on the roadway illustrated the minivan's path across the roadway in the seconds before it slammed into a light pole.

The crash remains under investigation.

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