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Woman killed in crash on Interstate 17 near Cactus Rd

Posted at 11:11 AM, May 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-24 13:09:56-04

PHOENIX — The northbound lanes of Interstate 17 have reopened at Cactus Road after a woman was killed in a three-vehicle crash triggered by a car that ran out of gas.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety said the crash happened around 4:30 a.m. Monday on the 17 northbound lanes, near Cactus Road.

A DPS official tells ABC15 that a woman was driving on the freeway when she ran out of gas and stopped in the middle traffic lane.

The initial crash happened after a woman in a Toyota Camry ran out of gas in the middle lanes of the freeway. She called for help, but before troopers could get on scene, a Tesla crashed into the stopped car.

The 49-year-old driver of the Telsa got out of her car. Troopers say that is when a Honda Pilot smashed into the Telsa and female driver. She was pronounced dead at the scene. She has been identified by DPS as Iwanda Mitchell, of Ahwatukee.

After the crash, three people in the Honda Pilot took off running. One of them had to be hospitalized for non-life-threatening injuries, but the other two, a man and woman, are being questioned about their role in the crash and could face charges, according to a DPS spokesperson.

The driver of the Toyota Camry, which ran out of gas, was also taken to the hospital but is expected to survive.

DPS told ABC15 another vehicle that may have been involved that left the scene.

Investigators ask anyone who witnessed this collision to contact DPS at 602-223-2212 or submit a tip online at www.azdps.gov/tips.

Running out of gas is, unfortunately, becoming more common, according to AAA Arizona.

"We did see an 11% increase in the calls for fuel in March of this year, compared to 2021," said Aldo Vazquez. "And it correlated at around the same time that we're starting to see gas prices go up...people are riding their vehicles to the very last moment that they have gasoline, which is a very dangerous thing to do out there on the road."

AAA recommends you always fill up when you hit a quarter tank remaining. Running out of gas could cause damage to your car's fuel pump and puts yourself and others at risk if you stall out on the interstate.