Driver arrested following fatal crash on I-10

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by Mike Gertzman

Video report by Jason Volentine

Posted on November 26, 2012 at 6:15 PM

Updated Saturday, Nov 2 at 7:51 PM

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PHOENIX -- A man who was speeding in a stolen Porsche out of Scottsdale, and apparently impaired by prescription medication, is accused of causing a fatal crash on westbound Interstate 10 at milepost 74, west of the Valley on Friday night.

That's according to officials with the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

John Edward Morken, 42, is facing charges of second-degree murder, aggravated assault, endangerment, and aggravated criminal damage.

According to court records, Morken hit a Chevrolet Suburban in the right lane from behind, causing the the driver of the Suburban to lose control. The Suburban rolled several times into the median.

"I don't remember what happened so I can't give you my side of the story," said Morken during a jailhouse interview on Monday. "I don't know how fast I was going. I don't know anything. I think they pulled in front of me because I don't remember seeing the car at all." 

There were six people in the Suburban, two adults and four children. All of the children were ejected from the Suburban. A 14-year-old child was killed. A 12-year-old and five-year-old were seriously hurt with head trauma and internal injuries, including broken bones. An infant was ejected and slightly injured. The two adults in the Suburban were also injured.

"I think it's terrible. I think it's absolutely horrible. I would like to know that young man's name," said Morken, referring to the teen who was killed.

Apparently none of the children were properly restrained or wearing a seat belt.

Morken's vehicle also rolled into the median and came to rest partially on top of the Suburban.

Investigators said they found a bottle of prescription pills, Lorazepam, in the car that Morken was driving. The drug is used to relieve anxiety.

Morken said he has been an addict for most of his life but added, "I've been clean for years on methadone."

"Because I was having to financially detox from methadone they gave me that (Lorazepam) to help with the anxiety."

The prescription was for Morken and was filled on Nov. 23, 2012, the date of the collision. The prescription was for 25 pills. The bottle had only 11 pills left in it.

Morken disputes that saying the prescription was 21 pills and that he took 3 the day of the collision.

Investigators said Morken became combative in the helicopter while being flown to the hospital. He refused medical treatment at the hospital and was detained by authorities.

It was at that point, according to investigators, Morken admitted to to taking multiple Lorazepam pills and said the collision was his fault.

Investigators said Morken showed signs of impairment and displayed more erratic behavior. They took a blood sample from Morken and are awaiting the results of toxicology tests.

Morken has outstanding warrants in Michigan and Kentucky, according to court documents. He also has a suspended driver's license.

"In 2009 I lost everything I had," said Morken. "Went from making a half-million dollars a year and having a great family life."

Morken said he worked in risk analysis for a hedge fund. He said he got addicted to prescription drugs when he got sick from pancreatitis in the the late 1990s.

He said the Porsche Carrera S he was driving was not stolen. He said the car belongs to a friend who loaned it to him.

As for Morken's future now that he's accused of second-degree murder, "I have a lot of faith. I've been through a lot in my life and wherever I'm going is where I'm supposed to go," said Morken.

The crash is one of several fatal incidents on Interstate 10 during the week of the Thanksgiving, and it has many similarities to a crash that occurred on Wednesday, but is totally unrelated.

 

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