Tempe officer killed in car-motorcycle wreck

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

AHWATUKEE, Ariz. – Tempe police are mourning the loss of one of their own, an officer who was killed in a traffic collision late Thursday afternoon.

It happened at about 5 p.m. on 48th Street just north of Elliot Road in Ahwatukee. Debris from the flares surrounding the scene still littered the street Friday morning.

Scott J. Saffell, 40, was riding south on his personal motorcycle when he was hit by a northbound car that was making a left turn. Police said that driver, a 24-year-old woman, failed to yield and hit Saffell as she turned.

Saffell was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

According to Phoenix police Sgt. Steve Martos, Saffell was not speeding and was wearing his helmet at the time of the wreck.

“He will be greatly missed by family, friends, peers, and the community which he proudly served,” Martos wrote in an email to media outlets.

The woman driving the Chrysler sedan that hit Saffell was not injured. Police have not released her name. It’s not yet clear what charges she might face although she could be cited for failing to yield.

ARS 28-772 specifically addresses the situation of vehicles turning left at an intersection. “The driver of a vehicle within an intersection intending to turn to the left shall yield the right-of-way to a vehicle that is approaching from the opposite direction and that is within the intersection or so close to the intersection as to constitute an immediate hazard,” the law reads.

Saffell had been a patrol officer in Tempe for three years.