DPS: Driver arrested for manslaughter in I-10 rollover that killed child

DPS: Driver arrested for manslaughter in I-10 rollover that killed child
Posted at 5:19 PM, Oct 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-18 20:22:31-04

Authorities say the man behind the wheel during a deadly rollover crash on Tuesday has been arrested and charged with manslaughter.

On Wednesday, the Department of Public Safety announced 31-year-old Eric McMorris, of Litchfield Park, was arrested for his role in the crash, which happened around 6:30 a.m. on Interstate 10 near milepost 68.

DPS says witnesses reported McMorris was driving a Chevrolet Tahoe recklessly, speeding and swerving between lanes. Two commercial truck drivers told troopers they had to drive on the shoulder to avoid the Tahoe, according to court paperwork. Officials say he lost control of the vehicle, sending the SUV into the median, back across traffic lanes and then rolling over on the side of the highway.

Kodie Johnson, 23, and five children were with McMorris at the time, DPS said. Johnson and two children were ejected from the vehicle during the crash. One child was killed, while the other and Johnson suffered serious injuries. 

Witnesses said they saw McMorris run around the scene of the crash collecting open pills and pill bottles on the ground and stuffing them into his pants, according to a probable cause statement. Troopers said McMorris was also seen burying prescription bottles under trees near the crash scene, as well as a hypodermic needle and spoon.

McMorris told investigators he takes medications for a variety of ailments, including a slipped disc, anxiety and asthma.

McMorris was arrested after being released from the hospital following treatment. According to online jail records, McMorris was booked into the Maricopa County jail on charges of manslaughter, aggravated assault, four counts of child abuse and three counts of endangerment.

A judge set his bond at $500,000. 

DPS says the incident remains under investigation and additional charges are possible.