Suspect who fled fatal accident scene in custody

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UPDATE: PRESCOTT VALLEY - The following is a press release from the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office:

On November 2, 2008, 17-year-old Kasey Valencour was killed in an automobile accident on Willow Creek Road and Pioneer Parkway. Witnesses reported seeing Valencour's vehicle and another sedan both traveling at high speed on Willow Creek prior to the accident. About an hour after the accident, deputies found an abandoned gray sedan on Highway 89 in the Granite Dells that was possibly involved in the incident. Detectives from the Criminal Investigations unit conducted extensive follow-up and ruled out any involvement of this vehicle and its owner in the Valencour accident.

During the first week of December, detectives received information from both anonymous and known sources identifying 18-year-old Prescott Valley resident Patrick Begley, as the person possibly driving the second high speed vehicle on Willow Creek. Within a few days, Begley contacted detectives after hearing of the current investigation and wanted an opportunity to tell his side of the story. Begley admitted to speeding with Valencour's Ford Focus on Willow Creek and witnessing her vehicle loose control and strike a pole. Begley stopped his car briefly, and then decided to leave without any effort to check on the driver or call emergency services. Begley had been driving a white 2003 Acura.

Detectives obtained a search warrant and confiscated the Acura for examination related to the accident. Results of the vehicle examination, although initially inconclusive, are still under review.

As the investigation continued, detectives interviewed associates of Begley who confirmed he had admitted to racing Valencour prior to the accident and seeing her crash.

Based on the investigation to date, Begley was arrested on December 23 for a felony count of Failing to Stop and Remain at an Injury or Fatal Accident. He was booked at the Prescott Detention Center and bond has been set a $3000.00.

ORIGINAL:

Although the investigation is ongoing, a preliminary report indicates the victim's vehicle, a black Ford Focus, struck a power pole near the northbound right turn lane on Willow Creek Road at Pioneer Parkway. The impact likely caused the driver's fatal injury. The driver had worn her seat belt and there was no evidence of drug or alcohol use at the scene.

Witnesses reported seeing the victim's Ford and another gray vehicle pass them at high speed on Willow Creek Road before the accident. The witnesses lost sight of both vehicles until reaching the intersection at Pioneer Parkway and discovering that the Ford Focus had collided with a power pole.

About an hour later, the gray vehicle was found abandoned on Highway 89 in the Granite Dells. The owner has been located and deputies are currently attempting to determine his involvement, if any, in this accident.

Additional updates are expected as the investigation moves forward.