Woman walking across freeway hit, killed

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by Catherine Holland

Video report by Gibby Parra and Gina Maravilla

Posted on November 15, 2012 at 6:18 AM

Updated Monday, Nov 19 at 4:02 PM

Map: I-10 and Seventh Street

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PHOENIX -- A woman is dead after a box truck hit her while she was walking across Interstate 10 early Thursday morning.

It happened just after 5 a.m. in the westbound lanes near Seventh Street.

The driver, Dragan Kartalija, said he was returning from Tucson, en route to a West Valley warehouse to deliver some produce. He said he saw the woman walking from south to north across I-10 under the 10th Street Bridge.

According to Kartalija, the woman was only about 20 feet in front of him and although he hit the brakes, he had no time to stop.

Aerial video showed the Argo Express delivery truck stopped on right side of the roadway.

The young woman died on the scene. She was not carrying identification so investigators do not know anything about her.

A witness said she saw the woman walking on the freeway and said she had puffy eyes as though she had been crying.

The driver stayed with his truck and is cooperating with investigators. Department of Public Safety officers conducted a field-sobriety test and found no signs of impairment.

At this point, investigators have no idea what the woman was doing on the freeway. They've looked for stranded vehicles in the area of the crash, but they have not found anything so far. Detectives say they might never know why she was walking across I-10.

The investigation is ongoing. Kartalija probably will not face charges in connection with this crash.

The wreck caused a major traffic backup into downtown Phoenix. DPS re-opened all of the westbound lanes at 7:30 a.m., but 3TV traffic reporter Gina Maravilla said it would take quite some time for the delays to resolve.

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