Man killed in crash while pulling out of apartment complex; speed likely a factor

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

MESA, Ariz. -- A Mesa man who was simply pulling out of an apartment complex is dead after a car crash that investigators initially thought involved street racing.

It happened shortly after 7:30 p.m. Sunday in the neighborhood along University Drive west of Val Vista Drive.

According to police, the victim, now identified as Patrick Meley, was pulling out of the private drive of the Genoa Lakes apartment complex when a speeding car T-boned his vehicle. Meley's car rolled. The 47-year-old died on the scene.

"Horrible sound. … It was a sight to see," said Daniel Rapp. He heard the accident and was one of the first people to get to the wreck.

The two 19-year-old men who were in the Nissan 350Z that hit Meley were injured. According to Sgt. Tony Landato of the Mesa Police Department, both were taken to a local hospital although neither one suffered life-threatening injuries. Their names have not been released.

The posted speed limit along that stretch of University Drive is 45 mph. Investigators have not yet determined exactly how fast the Nissan was going at the time of the crash.

While excessive speed is believed to be the reason for the wreck, investigators do not think impairment was a factor.

Early on in the investigation, detectives thought the Nissan might have been involved in a street race with another vehicle. Based on information learned in the hours since the crash, investigators are no longer sure that was the case.

"We're unable to confirm those details, whether or not there were two vehicles racing, or just happened to be on the roadway together, maybe traveling at a high rate of speed, one passing the other," Landato said.

Not only is there no evidence of a race at the scene, Landato said investigators are getting conflicting information from witnesses. "We just simply can't confirm the racing aspect of it," he said. "We can't exclude that, either. It's just foggy enough for us to be unable to confirm it."

Based on those developments, Landato said officers are not looking for a third vehicle.

While they no longer know if street racing was actually involved in the crash, detectives still believe excessive speed was a factor.

"The investigation is ongoing to confirm those details and exactly what we're talking about in terms of speed," Landato said. "There are many variables that they need to evaluate to try to come up with an accurate speed."

At this point, police have not made any arrests, but criminal charges are a possibility if speed is confirmed to have been a factor in the crash,