Ahwatukee wrong-way crash: Driver identified in deadly I-10 crash

Posted at 8:31 AM, Dec 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-15 00:56:21-05

Officials have identified the wrong-way driver from Tuesday’s deadly crash in Ahwatukee.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety said the wrong-way driver was 63-year-old Jeremiah Trotter. The front seat passenger in the wrong-way vehicle was 28-year-old Bennett Vella. Both have died from their injuries. 

DPS first received reports Tuesday afternoon to investigate an accident involving two cars near Interstate 10 and Pecos Road.

According to officials, an SUV was traveling the wrong-way on the westbound I-10 transition ramp and crashed into a truck head-on. 

Two people in the SUV were killed and the driver and a passenger in the truck are still hospitalized in critical condition.

Phoenix fire said a pest control company vehicle was involved in the crash. The pest control company is owned by a Phoenix firefighter.

According to Phoenix fire, the pest control vehicle was hit by the wrong-way driver. The firefighter's son is still in the hospital struggling to survive as he was traveling in the pest control vehicle. 

Firefighter Nelson Ruiz took to Facebook to ask for prayers for his son Kyle Ruiz. 

Ruiz and 21-year-old Brandon Gauna were traveling in the vehicle when they were struck. The impact was so hard the dashboards ended up in the backseat. 

Ruiz's son is struggling for life; Gauna's girlfriend told ABC15 that Gauna is improving and even talking. 

DPS said as of January 2016, 1,600 wrong-way incidents have been reported to the organization. Of those, 27 resulted in injuries or casualties. There have been over 100 drivers arrested on suspicion of impairment in wrong-way incidents.