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DPS: Gilbert man behind bars after deadly Loop 202 crash

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Posted at 5:30 AM, Jan 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-07 11:16:03-05

CHANDLER — A 26-year-old Gilbert man is behind bars after causing a crash that killed one of his passengers along the Loop 202 early Sunday morning.

Arizona Department of Public Safety officials say Ismael Garfio was driving eastbound on L-202 near Arizona Avenue when his vehicle left the roadway and hit an overhead sign support post.

Garfio and two passengers were taken to the hospital and treated for injuries. A third passenger, Phillip J. Mitchell, a 24-year-old Chandler resident, was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to police paperwork, a trooper smelled a "strong odor" of alcohol on Garfio. He reportedly told the trooper he had one drink.

A hospital blood sample indicated a blood-alcohol content of .168.

One of the victims told officials that she saw Garfio have three drinks, but didn't know what kind. The victim also mentioned that Garfio and another passenger were talking about "drifting," or intentionally causing the vehicle to rotate or spin, before the vehicle lost control.

Garfio was released from the hospital and booked into jail on charges of second-degree murder, aggravated assault and endangerment.