Valley cab driver remembered after deadly crash in Phoenix

PHOENIX - A Phoenix man accused of aggravated assault after a deadly car crash last week had multiple DUI's and a suspended driver's license, according to court records.

A detective also states he observed slurred speech and bloodshot watery eyes on Franklin J Blaze, when they took him to the hospital. Blaze told police he had one beer several hours prior to the crash.

Santiago Maya, a cab driver for Elite Taxi Cabs in Phoenix died when his cab flipped over with the impact of the crash. A passenger who was traveling with him suffered broken ribs. This happened last Tuesday at 57th Avenue and Thomas Road.

Court records state Maya suffered massive internal injuries. His family finally decided to take him off life support three days after the crash.

Maya's niece, Yesenia Ronces described the time since the crash as very tough for the whole family.

"I had to hold onto my mother when I saw him," Ronces said. "I almost fainted to see him all tubed up and spread out like that."

She described Maya as a hard-working man who had just become a proud grandfather. Ronces said he worked long and late shifts, sometimes well into the morning, to help support his family.

"He loved his job. He took a lot of pride in it. Everything that he did was to bring back to his family."

Maya had four daughters and a three week old grandson whom he was very proud of. His wife declined to go on camera but said, the last day of his life had been very "normal."  

They did yard work together. He went to the dentist with his daughter who was ill, and came home with a numb mouth. She said she had been laughing at him because he was "talking funny" due to his numb mouth. Then he left for work. That was the last memory she had of her husband of 18 years.

Ronces said Maya's wife had actually prayed for the suspect after the crash, until they learned of his criminal past.

"She wants the legal system to take care of it with the maximum penalty. She doesn't want this to happen to another family," said Ronces.

The family has set up a GoFundMe account to help with Maya's funeral costs and other expenses

Maya will be laid to rest on Saturday. An employee at Elite Taxi Cabs said the company planned to send a fleet of cars to the funeral in honor of Maya and his dedication to his job.

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