Man who had been drinking refuses ride, dies in crash

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PHOENIX -- A man who refused rides from witnesses and a taxi cab after a night of drinking was killed when he rolled his SUV Saturday morning.

Witnesses told investigators that Caleb J. Schmidt, 21, was drinking alcoholic beverages Friday night at a bar near Interstate 17 and Happy Valley Road.

When Schmidt prepared to leave the bar early Saturday morning, several people tried to talk him out of driving due to his condition. Someone even called a cab company as witnesses followed Schmidt to his vehicle, a Dodge Durango.

As a taxicab pulled into the parking lot and blocked Schmidt's vehicle, he verbally threatened the driver, who moved and parked his cab.

A witness reached into the driver's side of Schmidt's vehicle in an attempt to take the car keys. Schmidt floored the Durango, driving off by himself without a seatbelt and with the driver's door open.

According to investigators, Schmidt immediately lost control. The Durango did a 180-degree turn in the parking lot, struck a raised concrete median and hit a tree. The SUV rolled over onto the victim, who fell out of the open driver's side door.

Schmidt died in the collision. No one else was hurt.

This investigation is continuing. The medical examiner will determine the blood alcohol content of the victim.