Mother of man arrested in wrong-way crash speaks to 3TV

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PHOENIX -- The mother of a Phoenix man arrested in a fatal wrong-way accident spoke to 3TV Wednesday, along with the Department of Public Safety officer who tried to stop him.

Authorities say 39-year-old Stephen B. Martin had a blood-alcohol level nearly four times the legal limit when his Suburban collided with an SUV on Interstate 17, killing the other driver.

"My first thought is, I've got to do everything I can to stop this vehicle," Officer Andrew Reed said.

He said he spotted a vehicle merging onto the I-17 at Glendale Avenue in the wrong direction early Tuesday morning.

Reed tried to block the Suburban with his vehicle, but Martin reportedly swerved around him, apparently going about 50 mph. Seconds later, the Suburban slammed into the SUV driven by 26-year-old Megan Lange.

Lange was on her way home from her job as a Phoenix Fire Department dispatcher. The mother of two later died at a hospital.

"He swerved around my vehicle, coming within approximately three feet of my front bumper," Reed said. "There was no lights as he passed me, as he swerved around my vehicle."

Reed said he circled back, but he was too late.

"Vehicle debris everywhere across the road," he recalled. "There was two males that frantically were running up to me, stating the smaller SUV driver needed help ... and I tried to do anything I could to render aid for her."

Patty Martin said her son told her he was being chased by someone who abused his ex-girlfriend.

"He can't really even talk," she said. "He just sobs when he tries to talk about it."

Asked how she felt when she learned a young mother was killed in the accident, Patty Martin told 3TV, "My heart just dropped. There's no words to express how we felt. We just want to let the family know that they are in our thoughts and prayers, and we are so sorry. Sorry isn't good enough."

Martin, who has a 7-year-old son, was booked into jail on suspicion of second-degree murder and other crimes. A judge set his bond at $700,000.

"We have a tight-knit community, and hearing one of our own being lost, it's a tough one," Reed said. "It hurts a little bit more."

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