Car plows into bus stop killing 1; DUI likely, police say

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by Catherine Holland

Video report by Mike Watkiss

Posted on May 13, 2013 at 6:26 AM

Updated Wednesday, May 15 at 3:34 PM

Map: 27th Ave. & Indian School

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PHOENIX -- One person is dead, a second is injured and a third is in police custody after a car plowed into a Phoenix bus stop before sunrise Monday. Police believe the driver, a 22-year-old Hispanic woman, was impaired at the time of the wreck.

It happened just after 4 a.m. at 27th Avenue and Indian School Road.

According to police, a black sedan was heading north on 27th Avenue when the driver ran a red light. She swerved to avoid two cars, veered off the road and slammed into the bus stop by the 7-Eleven at Indian School Road.

According to police, Harry Cleveland, 50, was sitting on the bus bench when the car hit it. He took the brunt of the impact and died about an hour later at a local hospital.

A 20-year-old man who had been sitting on another bench, was taken to a local hospital, as well. His condition was not immediately available.

A 19-year-old woman who also was waiting at the bus stop managed to dodge the out-of-control car and avoid injury.

Police have not released information about either one of those victims. They are, however, talking about the woman who was driving the sedan that hurled into the bus stop.

Witnesses told investigators that the driver, now identified as Elsa Olivares, and the passenger ran away from the scene.

Police checked the vehicle's registration and went to the address listed. While en route to that apartment, police received a call from Olivares. After telling them she was involved in the crash, she turned herself in.

"Signs and symptoms of impairment were observed by responding officers and she was evaluated by detectives," Phoenix Police Sgt. Trent Crump said in an e-mail to media outlets.

He went on to to say that Olivares admitted she had been drinking and smoking pot before getting behind the wheel of the sedan, which is registered to a member of her family.

Police have released few details about her, saying only that she has a criminal history. They declined to elaborate.

At this point, Olivares is facing charges of second-degree murder, aggravated assault, endangerment and leaving the scene of a fatal collision.

The person who was in the car with Olivares has not yet come forward, and she's not giving investigators any information about him. Police say that person is not considered a suspect, but rather a witness. They say that while the passenger has no obligation to turn himself in, investigators would like to talk to him about what happened Monday morning.

Prior to locating Olivares and taking her into custody, investigators were talking to at least four witnesses as they worked to piece together the moments leading up to the deadly crash.

According to 3TV's Javier Soto, officers handcuffed one of those witnesses and placed him in the back of a police car, but it's not clear why or if there is any connection to Monday morning's wreck.

The intersection was closed in all four directions for hours while police conducted their investigation.

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