Video: Driver intentionally hits 2 people on sidewalk in Phoenix, police say

A man is in jail after police say he intentionally ran over a couple on the city’s north side Monday morning.
Published: Feb. 7, 2023 at 7:56 AM MST|Updated: Feb. 7, 2023 at 9:37 PM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- A man is now in jail after Phoenix police say he intentionally ran over a man and woman on Monday morning, claiming the devil told him to kill several people. Officers responded to the area of 47th Avenue and Bell Road around 7:30 a.m. after a report of a crash between a truck and pedestrians. Officers arrived to find a man and woman with serious injuries, who were soon rushed to an area hospital. Court paperwork says the woman is in serious condition with a brain bleed, and the man has broken legs and ribs.

A neighbor’s surveillance video captured the disturbing incident. Police say 49-year-old Refugio Barraza Torres was driving when the video shows him slowly pulling up near the man and woman. The woman notices Torres’ truck and turns around. However, Torres then speeds up, running her over. The man with her went to check on her, but seconds later, Torres rammed him through a brick wall. When Torres tried to back up, the tire popped off, but that didn’t stop him from speeding off.

“They left a tire behind. They went through that wall pretty good,” one neighbor said. Video shows neighbors running to the man and woman to help them. They say it could have been any one of them that day. “I guess the question is why. Everyone is kind of wondering why a person would do that,” another resident said.

Investigators said that officers tracked a skid trail from Torres’ truck to a nearby home and found him standing next to it with a missing front tire. He was taken into custody. Court documents say he told police he was having issues with his brain and the devil told him to kill three people. Officers asked Torres if he killed three people, and he replied, “I think so,” according to court paperwork. Torres’ wife reportedly told police he had been acting strange all week. Other family members claimed Torres was taking random medications, police said.

It’s unknown if Torres knew the victims. He now faces two counts of aggravated assault.

The family of the victims, Kirt and Lisa Heaward, have established a GoFundMe to help with medical expenses. You can make a donation here.