A.J. teacher killed, bystander injured after pair of wrecks

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APACHE JUNCTION, Ariz. – An Apache School teacher was killed and a second man was injured when a wreck between a car and a scooter spawned a second wreck in an Apache Junction intersection Wednesday morning.

According to the Apache Junction Police Department, Sat Guru Singh Khalsa, 61, was heading east on Broadway Avenue near Meridian Road at about 6:30 a.m.

A car driven by Gene Burns was at a stop light and made a right turn, putting the car right in Khalsa’s path. Unable to stop in time, Khalsa hit the back of the car and fell to the ground. Apparently uninjured, he was able to get up and walk around.

At that point, a good Samaritan stopped to help both drivers. While Joseph Sammarzo, 27, was talking to Burns and Khalsa, there was a second accident.

Matthew Crane, 27, said he did not see what was happening in the road and hit Sammarzo and Khalsa.

Khalsa, who was fine after the first accident, was pronounced dead at the scene. He was a teacher with the Apache Junction Unified School District. He had been with the district since July 2005, working mostly with special-education students of all ages. This year, he was teaching language arts and reading to elementary-school age students.

“This is a great loss to the AJUSD family and to the community as a whole,” said AJUSD superintendent Dr. Chad Wilson in a statement to the media. “Sat was well-known and well-liked across the district, and regarded as an innovative and energetic instructor who touched the lives of his students and co-workers alike. Our thoughts are with his family during this difficult time.”

Sammarzo was taken to Banner Baywood Hospital with a leg injury. He is expected to recover.

Burns, who was involved in the initial wreck, was cited for failing to yield.

While investigators do not believe alcohol or drugs were factors in the second wreck, blood work on Crane is pending.

Police have forwarded the case to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office to determine if any other charges will be filed.

Officials with AJUSD said counselors would available at Mountain Shadows and the Superstition Mountain Mental Health Center to help students or adults cope with Khalsa's death.