Court docs: Man admits to smoking marijuana before El Mirage crash that left boy in critical condition

Detectives now say they believe impairment was a factor in the wreck.
Detectives now say they believe impairment was a factor in the wreck.(MCSO/Arizona's Family)
Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 6:34 AM MST|Updated: Jan. 24, 2023 at 12:32 PM MST
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EL MIRAGE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- El Mirage police are revealing more details early Tuesday morning about a serious wreck that left nine people injured, including a young boy who, at last check, remains in critical condition.

Detectives say the driver who they think is responsible has been identified as Jose Sanchez Valencia, 19, of El Mirage.

According to police, the crash happened near Grand Avenue (also known as the US 60), and Thunderbird Road just after 10 a.m. on Sunday. Dashcam video obtained by investigators also showed that Sanchez Valencia had crashed into a Toyota Highlander that had stopped for a red light at the intersection, creating a chain reaction of crashes. Four vehicles in total were involved.

Seven people were taken to area hospitals to be treated for severe injuries. The nine-year-old boy critically injured suffered a fractured pelvis and head trauma, court documents later revealed. Sanchez Valencia was treated at a local hospital with less severe injuries before being released Monday.

Police say he was going much faster than the 50mph speed limit posted and that there was “no evidence” of braking before the crash. According to court paperwork, Sanchez Valencia admitted to detectives that he had fallen asleep at the wheel. At the crash scene, officers noticed his eyes were red; he was also found next to a lanyard with marijuana and rolling papers. Ultimately, Sanchez Valencia admitted to smoking marijuana before driving and getting into the wreck.

Sanchez Valencia has been booked into the Maricopa County jail on five counts of aggravated assault and eight counts of endangerment.