Suspected impaired driver killed in crash near Casa Grande

Posted: Updated:
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

CASA GRANDE, Ariz. – A suspected impaired driver was killed after he crashed into a pickup truck south of Casa Grande Wednesday afternoon.

Rafael Servellon Vanega, 56, of Eloy, was traveling east on Jimmie Kerr Boulevard at approximately 3 p.m. when he lost control of his 2005 Crown Victoria and swerved into oncoming traffic just west of the Peart Road intersection, according to Elias Johnson with the Pinal County Sheriff's Office.

The car hit a 2006 Chevrolet 3/4-ton company pickup truck driven by Elvin Crewell, 41, of Florence. Crewell and a passenger sustained non life-threatening injuries.

Vanega was unconscious and not breathing when deputies arrived at the scene. He was trapped inside his vehicle and required extrication.

Vanega was transported to Casa Grande Regional Hospital where he died just after 4 p.m.

Investigators estimate that Vanega's speed at the time of the collision was approximately 70 mph.

Evidence at the scene indicated Vanega was driving under the influence of alcohol, according to Johnson. Deputies learned Vanega was operating his vehicle under a suspended license from a previous DUI conviction.

"This is a sad reminder of what can happen when an impaired driver chooses to get behind the wheel and puts everyone's life, including their own, in danger," Sheriff Paul Babeu said in a news release. "It's unfortunate that Mr. Vanega did not learn from his previous DUI conviction, but I hope others will use this example and choose not to drive while impaired."