PHOENIX — Three people are dead after a wrong-way crash on Interstate 10.
The Arizona Department of Public Safety says it started around 3:30 a.m. Sunday when troopers got a call of a driver traveling westbound in the eastbound lanes of I-10.
Shortly after, authorities say a crash was reported near Riggs Road involving the wrong-way driver. He was identified as Cornel Eugine Ard, a 71-year-old man from Casa Grande. He was taken to a hospital where he died.
DPS says Ard was identified as a person who was earlier reported missing and had mental illness due to age.
Impairment is not believed to be a factor in the crash.
Four people were in the vehicle hit by the wrong-way driver. Two passengers, 49-year-old Eva Michelle Sanchez of Arizona City and 27-year-old Jacob Adam Morales of Casa Grande, were pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. The driver and a third passenger were taken to a hospital for treatment.
A driver and passenger of a third vehicle involved were treated at the scene.
"The loss is just unbearable for her and my brother," Tina Nightingale, family member of Eva and Jacob said. "Amazing people, always giving, always there to support and love no matter what you needed."
Nightingale says her dad Russel was in the driver's seat. She says her mom Eva, sister Racquel and brother-in-law Jacob were also in the car. She says they were coming home on the I-10 near Riggs after a night of playing bingo when they were hit by a wrong way driver.
"He tried to swerve into the lane the other car wasn't in and that car turned in the same lane and they hit head on," Nightingale said.
She says her father Russel survived.
"He's just getting out of intensive care with a brain bleed," she said.
Racquel was also severely injured.
"Her whole face is shattered," Nightingale said. "She's going to have to have plastic surgery, reconstructive surgery."
The family says they're now trying to find a way to pay for mounting medical bills. They're also left wondering what can be done to stop drivers from going the wrong way on valley freeways.
"It's very frustrating," Nightingale said. "It's very hurtful. It could've been anybody. It could've been a woman and children. It could've been infants. It could've been anybody's family, it just happened to be ours."
The family has set up a GoFundMe to raise money for funeral and medical expenses for the four victims in the vehicle.