Phoenix police believe drag racing caused collision that injured landscaper


by Jennifer Thomas

Video report by Mike Watkiss

Posted on March 26, 2014 at 11:17 AM

Updated Monday, Mar 31 at 10:15 AM

PHOENIX -- Phoenix police believe drag racing caused a collision that injured a landscaper Wednesday morning.

Sgt. Tommy Thompson said an exterminator's pickup truck collided with a 2003 Ford Mustang driven by a 17-year-old boy at 52nd Street and Earll Drive just after 8 a.m.

The teenage driver allegedly ran a stop sign while racing a 16-year-old boy in a 2007 Chevrolet Avalanche west on Earll Drive. The 2013 Toyota pickup truck, which was traveling south on 52nd Street, then T-boned the Mustang.

The truck crashed through a wall and hit a 61-year-old man who was mowing the lawn. Police said the landscaper was hospitalized in extremely critical condition.

Two vehicles in the yard were struck by debris, as was an additional vehicle on a street.

The 27-year-old male truck driver suffered injuries that were not life-threatening.

Thompson said the 16-year-old had two teenage passengers in his vehicle at the time of the collision. Investigators believe he stopped at the stop sign at 52nd Street and was not actually involved in the collision.

However, police say the 16-year-old boy fled the scene and went home to switch cars before going to school. He was taken into custody after school officials heard about the crash and called detectives.

Thompson said both teenage drivers face aggravated assault and endangerment charges. The 16-year-old will also be charged with leaving the scene of an injury collision.

Both teens reportedly are students at the nearby Veritas Preparatory Academy. Police have not released their names.