SUV responsible for cyclist injury is torched minutes after accident

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by Sybil Hoffman

azfamily.com

Posted on August 20, 2012 at 9:45 PM

Updated Monday, Aug 20 at 11:00 PM

GILA RIVER INDIAN RESERVATION, Ariz. -- An SUV plowed into a cyclist and within minutes the vehicle was found burning in the desert. 3TV has obtained exclusive information that shows even though the suspect confessed, police have yet to make any arrests.

Shayna Weitzman is the kind of athlete who thinks nothing of working out two hours every day.

"I did Ironman in November, I did the Marquee recently in March," she said.

But for the past six weeks, she's been confined to a wheelchair.

On June 30, while riding with six other cyclists down 51st Avenue on the Gila River Indian Reservation, Weitzman said, "This car just pulled in front of me and I saw the car and felt it. Crushed. I felt crushed."

The Gila River police report, obtained exclusively by 3TV, reveal witnesses saw two people in a white 1999 Jeep Cherokee swerve to the side and then take off.

The officer documented "not observing any skid marks around Shayna" suggesting the driver never even slowed down. What's worse, minutes later, "they had supposedly taken the car and driven it to the desert and after they air-evaced me up, the police that were helping me, had saw some smoke in the background," according to Weitzman.

Once the smoke settled, officers discovered the remnants of a '99 Jeep Cherokee. The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) confirmed it was the SUV that hit Weitzman. The officer also found an empty 12-ounce can of Budweiser beer on the ground just south of the vehicle.

"They were very drunk when they hit me, but they must have been slightly sober to have such quick reactions to know what to do to cover themselves," Weitzman said.

Documented in the police report, Desiree Carra, 23, confessed to one of her friends that she hit somebody, that she had been drinking and she was sorry.

"There's a lot of evidence pointing towards her," Weitzman said. "The car was in the bushes and she had scratch marks on her like fresh from bushes."

But according to the police report, Carra denied being the driver, admitting she and her friends drank two 30-packs of beers the night before and didn't remember anything.

"It's not fair that I have to lay here for six weeks while she goes on with her life," Weitzman said.

Going on with life means grueling physical therapy. Despite her pain, Weitzman's spirits are still high. Weitzman credits her friends and strangers in the triathlon and cycling communities for that.

"You'd be surprised what you can do on your elbows," Weitzman said. "I can get myself, in and out of bed. I can scoot. You learn."

In the meantime, she worries if her case will ever be resolved.

"They believe they know who the person is and they spoke with her and they haven't made an arrest yet because of things they can't prove beyond a reasonable doubt she was the one behind the wheel," Weitzman said.

Gila River police haven't arrested Carra and refused our requests for an interview.

If you're interested in helping Shayna and other injured cyclists, check out http://www.facebook.com/NotOneMore.


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