GILBERT, AZ - Police have identified two people who died in a Sunday morning wrong-way crash , the third such crash in the Valley in the last week.
Department of Public Safety spokesman Carrick Cook said 25-year-old Michael Ruquet and his passenger, 20-year-old Ashley Adea, both of Mesa, were killed by the wrong-way driver.
The driver, 68-year-old Patricia Murphy, remains hospitalized in serious condition. Her 9-year-old grandson, who was in the car at the time of the crash, also suffered serious injuries. Both are expected to survive.
The young boy was reportedly asleep in the pickup truck when Murphy crashed into Ruquet's vehicle.
Medical assistant Karen Frederick, who pulled up minutes after it happened and got out to see if she could help, found the 9-year-old bleeding and alone on the side of the road.
"He had blood on his face, blood on his neck," she described.
Frederick checked the boy for any other injuries and found his stomach bruised by his seatbelt. She says Murphy's grandson told her they'd left a family party and when the truck crashed he climbed out.
Frederick remembers the boy being in shock and focused on getting help for his grandmother.
"He kept saying, 'Is my grandma going to die? Who's going to help my grandma? Nobody's helping my grandma.'"
Cook said the crash is being treated as an ongoing criminal investigation and detectives are looking into whether or not Murphy was impaired at the time of the incident.
According to DPS spokesman Raul Garcia, a pickup truck was going the wrong way on Loop 202 around 2 a.m. when it slammed into a sedan near Higley Road.
The freeway was closed near Higley Road for several hours Sunday morning as authorities cleared the accident scene.
This is the Valley's third wrong-way driver crash in 6 days.