Pedicab rear-ended by alleged drunk driver; 3 hurt, 1 arrested


by Catherine Holland and Ryan O'Donnell

Bio | Email | Follow: @3TVODonnell

Video report by Jared Dillingham

Posted on January 4, 2013 at 6:43 AM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 8:09 AM

Map: Scottsdale Road & McDonald

View larger map

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Three people were injured when a car slammed into a pedicab on Scottsdale Road early Friday morning. Police believe alcohol was a factor in the wreck.

It happened at about 3 a.m. near Rose Lane just north of McDonald Drive.

According to Officer David Pubins of the Scottsdale Police Department, the pedicab, carrying two men, was heading north on Scottsdale Road. The pedicab was in the median lane to make a left turn when a Ford traveling the same direction hit it from behind.

The pedicab driver, identified as Saipaia J. Tavake, and one of his passengers were taken to Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn Medical Center. The other passenger was taken to Maricopa Medical Center.

Police say the two passengers, Cody Clark and Michael Tysver, both 21, from Great Bend, Kan., suffered serious, potentially life-threatening injuries. Clark suffered severe head trauma and is still fighting for his life. Tysver suffered a spine injury and is listed serious but stable condition.

Tavake's injuries were less serious. He was treated and released from the hospital.

Police have identified Joseph Paul Spano, 27, as the driver of the Ford. He was not hurt in the wreck, but video from the scene showed major damage to the front his car.

"Police investigating the collision observed signs of impairment on Mr. Spano, which lead to his arrest for DUI, Endangerment and Aggravated Assault," reads the incident summary on the Scottsdale Police Department's website.

Kinsey Schofield, who came upon the wreck shortly after it happened, was stunned by what she saw.

"I got out of my car and it appeared to be dead bodies on the side of the road," she said. "It was a terrifying sight, probably the scariest thing I've ever seen in my life."

Friends told police that Clark and Tysver are K-State fans in town for the Fiesta Bowl. Tavake told police he picked up Clark and Tysver at a bar in downtown Scottsdale and was taking them to their hotel, which is not far from where his pedicab was hit.

According to investigators, Tavake, 19, said he did not see Spano's car coming up behind the pedicab and had no time to react to avoid the collision.

“In general pedicabs are legal to be on city streets as long as they're properly equipped, especially at night," said Lt. Pat Connor with the Scottsdale Police Department.

Scottsdale ordinances require pedicabs to be equipped with lights on the front and back, as well as red reflectors that are approved by the Arizona Department of Transportation, a braking system and mirrors.

Investigators took a close look at the wrecked pedicab and said it appeared to be appropriately equipped and everything was working properly.

“Scottsdale Road is narrow and it's busy, you don't know who or when you're going to see them, so I would absolutely not get into a pedicab on Scottsdale Road," Schofield said. "I'm afraid to get into them downtown, let alone on Scottsdale."

The investigation is ongoing.

Northbound Scottsdale Road was closed for more than four hours. The wreck scene was cleared and those lanes reopened to traffic shortly before 7:30 a.m.