PD: Drunk driver causes chain-reaction crashes, hits pedestrian

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by azfamily.com

Video report by Karen Brown

Posted on January 17, 2014 at 10:40 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 21 at 3:59 PM

Map: Southern Avenue and Rural Road

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TEMPE, Ariz. -- A woman was arrested Friday night after allegedly causing two chain-reaction crashes and striking a pedestrian while driving drunk, according to the Tempe Police Department.

Police spokesman Sgt. Michael Pooley said 31-year-old Christy Kupper collided with a vehicle in the intersection of Rural Road and Southern Avenue, and that vehicle crashed into a third vehicle.

Kupper allegedly tried to flee the scene, tearing through a nearby Walmart parking lot.

Pooley said Kupper's car hit a curb and rear-ended a red Mazda passenger car, pushing it into a truck waiting to make a turn. Kupper's vehicle reportedly spun around, striking a 24-year-old woman carrying groceries to her minivan, where her five kids and husband were waiting.

The woman was transported to a hospital with serious, non-life-threatening injuries. She reportedly has only broken bones.

Kupper was arrested and charged with endangerment, aggravated assault, super extreme DUI, and hit and run. She was not injured.

Being charged with super extreme DUI means Kupper's blood-alcohol level was at least .2 percent -- more than twice the legal limit.

Bob House said his wife, Kim, was driving one of the vehicles involved, and he rushed to the scene after receiving a call from his daughter, Kendall.

"I was fired up when I came over here and when I find out it's a drunk driver, I was really fired up," he said.

A taxi driver reportedly had to restrain House because he wanted to confront Kupper. House said Tempe police were justified when they threatened to use a stun gun to calm him.

"I didn't even see anybody," Kim House said. "It was like a blur. It was like a white streak. My daughter screamed and I didn't know why she was screaming, and then I felt like something shifted in the back of my truck."

Kim House said she got out of her truck and her legs gave out.

Cassandra Stephenson witnessed the collision and rushed over to help Kim House.

"She was having a panic attack," Stephenson said. "She didn't know what to do. ... I told her that the ambulance is on the way, that she'll be okay."

Kim House said she and her daughter were on a quick trip to grab dinner.

"I feel lucky," she said. "I just have bumps and bruises. I'm hurting but I'll make it."

Kupper reportedly told the taxi driver she had only had three beers.

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