18-year-old arrested after weekend crash in Queen Creek leaves man dead, 3 teens injured

According to court documents, a Queen Creek officer spoke with the driver, identified as...
According to court documents, a Queen Creek officer spoke with the driver, identified as 18-year-old Ezana Addisu Y Tessema, and smelled alcohol on him.(File Photo: Courtesy Queen Creek Police Dept.)
Published: Sep. 12, 2022 at 1:23 PM MST
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QUEEN CREEK, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- A man has been charged after an early morning crash that killed one man and injured three teens in Queen Creek on Saturday.

Pinal County Sheriff’s deputies said they responded to a report that a car headed south on Rittenhouse Road suddenly hit a curb, traveled into the dirt shoulder, and went airborne around 4 a.m. The car then rolled into a cell tower control station which sparked a fire that spread into the car. One passenger reportedly could not get out of the vehicle and died at the scene.

Multiple law enforcement officials, including Queen Creek police officers, blocked the roadway for the investigation. According to court documents, a Queen Creek officer spoke with the driver, identified as 18-year-old Ezana Addisu Y Tessema, and smelled alcohol on him. He was taken to a local hospital for minor injuries. The front-seat passenger, a 16-year-old boy, was taken to a hospital with minor injuries, as well as two teenage girls who had critical injuries from the crash. There is no information available on their status at this time. The passenger trapped in the vehicle who died at the scene was identified as 18-year-old Caleb Rodriguez.

A Pinal County Sheriff’s deputy interviewed Tessema at the hospital. He told the officer that he was driving people home after a party and that although the passengers in the car had been drinking, he had not. He then admitted to the deputy that he smoked a joint with a friend after work Friday night. According to court documents, the deputy noted that Tessema had bloodshot, watery eyes and that he smelled of alcohol.

Ezana Tessema was arrested at the hospital on Saturday morning after being treated for minor injuries. He was booked on various charges, including reckless manslaughter, three counts of aggravated assault, and three counts of endangerment.

Tessema was placed on a $75,000 bond, which, if posted, would require pre-trial supervision, alcohol testing and monitoring, drug testing and monitoring, and mandatory electronic monitoring with curfews.