Police ID 2 men killed in Arizona highway pileup

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- Authorities have identified the two men who were killed in a high-speed pileup early Saturday on an Arizona highway.

They were 21-year-old Raul Contreras and 19-year-old Eric Cuellar Mendoza. Both were from Phoenix.

The accident occurred near Lake Pleasant about 40 miles outside Phoenix when one vehicle attempted to pass another.

Peoria police spokeswoman Amanda Jacinto says four people injured in the crash remained in critical condition Sunday and four others were in stable condition. Three others have already been released from the hospital.

A total of 15 people were involved in three vehicles. Some of them were riding in the back of a pickup truck and were thrown from the vehicle. Others did not have their seat belts on.

Jeff Kagan said he was friends with Contreras and was supposed to attend a bonfire party with him that night. He said he decided not to go because he was having car trouble.

"I see it now as an opportunity to still be here," Kagan said. "I take life much more seriously, driving much more seriously."

The crash remains under investigation.