Man hit by car and killed while changing tire on I-17

Posted: Updated:
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- A man who was changing a tire on the side of the freeway was hit by a car and killed Wednesday morning.

It happened at about 7 a.m. on northbound Interstate 17 near the Carefree Highway.

The victim has been identified as Ronald Norris, 55, of Orem, Utah. According to the Department of Public Safety, Norris and his family were in town to attend a funeral.

DPS investigators said Norris was standing behind a Cadillac in the emergency lane, which is about 23 feet wide.

His family reportedly was inside the car at the time.

Norris, who would have turned 56 tomorrow, was standing with another man to the right of the trunk, preparing to change the front passenger-side tire when he was hit by a Kia driven by Miguel Ortiz, 30, of Anthem.

Tracks could be seen where the Kia veered off the road after hitting Norris, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

A DPS officer said the driver of the disabled Cadillac did the right thing by pulling to the far side of the wide emergency lane. DPS said it's not clear why Ortiz drifted across that lane. There's no word yet on what charges, if any, Ortiz might face.

The incident is under investigation.

In the wake of today's deadly accident, AAA Arizona is offering tips to help motorists deal with breakdowns.

o First, pull completely off the roadway, if possible

o If you are on a freeway/highway, take the nearest exit, if possible

o If you’re not able to exit the roadway, stay in your vehicle and remain buckled, and call AAA or your emergency roadside provider

o If you feel that you are in danger (side of the freeway, for instance), let the AAA dispatcher know immediately, as these calls are prioritized

o Make sure you know your location in order to expedite help (last exit, visible signs, direction of travel).

o Stay with your vehicle

o Or, you can call Department of Public Safety’s Freeway Service Patrol – a service AAA sponsors where officers help stranded motorists

AAA also advises drivers to keep water, snacks and an emergency kit in their cars. They also suggest keeping your cell phone and a car charger with you.