PHOENIX — Police say a red-light runner is likely to blame for a deadly eight-car crash that seriously injured three people and killed one Sunday evening in central Phoenix.
Paramedics were called to the scene near Central Avenue and Camelback Road around 5:50 p.m.
Phoenix police said two men and two women were transported to the hospital with serious injuries. Jesus Padilla, 35, was later pronounced deceased.
"Initial reports indicate a vehicle ran a red light and collided with other vehicles that were turning left in the intersection," said Phoenix Police Sergeant Andy Williams.
"The adult female driver of the tan Toyota Camry, the vehicle that ran the red light, exhibited signs of impairment. This case is pending the outcome of the toxicology results and the collision reconstruction," Williams said Monday morning.
Witnesses told ABC15 one car caught fire and employees from the nearby Applebee's were running over with buckets of water to try and douse the flames. They also said firefighters had to extricate multiple people from cars.
According to the most recent data available, which is from 2019, AAA Arizona says our state is number one in the nation when it comes to how many people are killed by drivers blowing through a red light.
The city's red-light cameras were discontinued in 2019 when City Council voted 5-4 to allow the contract with Redflex, who owns and operates red-light cameras at 12 intersections, to expire.
The measure would have also added $800,000 to the more-than-$4-million current contract. It would have also extended the program until the end of this year.
The opposition came from council members who claimed it was a money grab. Some said they didn't have enough information to vote properly.
In January of 2020, Mayor Kate Gallego had a Work Study Session to discuss "a proposed methodology to evaluate, identify, and select locations for red-light cameras, and the current procurement of a new contract."
Since that work-study session, there has been very little progress or conversation surrounding the cameras.
Before being discontinued, Phoenix police reported that the cameras reduced red-light crashes by 60% at nine of the 12 intersections.
Calls for the reimplementation increased after Phoenix Officer Ginarro New was hit and killed in early June by a red-light runner, who also died in the crash.
ABC15 reached out to all of the council members but only heard back from Councilwoman Starke and Mayor Gallego's offices.
A spokesperson for Councilwoman Starke said: "She is very supportive of the red light camera program. She was in favor of keeping the program, and even held a protest at the corner of Bell Rd. and 7th St. the day they were disconnected.
Unfortunately, there was not enough Council support when the Council voted on the item in 2019."
Mayor Gallego's staff said: "The Mayor is supportive of red-light cameras...[and] would still like to see this on an agenda this fall."