PHOENIX — The driver who hit and killed a Phoenix police officer in a cruiser in May, killing Officer Ginarro New, was traveling more than twice the speed limit when he ran a red light, according to investigators.
New's crash was one of 374 fatal red-light running crashes in Arizona since 2011. A 2019 AAA study found that more people die in these kinds of crashes in Arizona, per capita than in any other state.
Officer Ginarro New was just 27 years old, on the police force just a few years, and still a newlywed. His death after the May 31 crash has been hard for his loved ones to accept.
"There are days where it still doesn't feel real," said New's longtime friend Christopher Pile.
Pile describes New as a protector from an early age. They met in middle school when Pile was trying to escape a bully.
"[Ginarro] called me over, got the bully to stop and leave me alone," Pile recalled in a recent ABC15 interview, "Then he's like, 'Hey, just hang out with me from now on; I'll take care of you.'"
Officer New was on duty, heading to a call when he was hit and killed by another driver at the intersection of Greenway Parkway and Cave Creek Road.
Phoenix police released new details about the red-light running crash this month to the ABC15 Investigators.
A police department spokeswoman said the other driver, Christopher Castro, was traveling 91 miles an hour, which was more than double the posted speed limit. Castro also died in the crash.
Castro also had a blood alcohol content of .223, which is nearly three times the legal limit, according to Phoenix police.
Pile now urges Arizonans to remember what happened to Officer New and change their own behavior behind the wheel.
"Stop looking at your phone, stop drinking and driving," Pile said, "Do what you can, so this doesn't happen to you."
The crash that killed Officer New was one of at least 38 fatal red-light running crashes in Arizona in 2021, according to the Governor's Office of Highway Safety.