911 calls reveal chaos amid New Year's Day hit-and-run double homicide in Tucson

2014-02-19T15:58:00Z 2014-02-19T16:29:35Z 911 calls reveal chaos amid New Year's Day hit-and-run double homicide in TucsonKimberly Matas Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
February 19, 2014 3:58 pm  • 

Transcripts released Wednesday of 911 calls made during a brutal New Year's Day hit-and-run double homicide reveal the suspect returned to the scene at least once to run over the victims again.

Out of respect for the victims and their families and the multiple people who called for help, TPD opted to release transcripts of the 911 calls and not the actual recordings, said Sgt. Chris Widmer, spokesman for the department.

The altercation that led to the deaths of Patrick Balbastro, 32, and Cindy Burnett, 46, began just before 4 a.m. Jan. 1. A third victim, Balbastro’s 43-year-old girlfriend, remains hospitalized.

Suspect Michael Dwayne Leday, 28, and Burnett got into a fight while walking in the 2200 block of East Sunland Vista, near East 36th Street and South Campbell Avenue, Tucson police said.

Balbastro and his girlfriend were driving in the area and saw the fight. Balbastro called 911 to report a man attacking a nude woman. He told the dispatcher he was getting out of his car to help the woman.

The dispatcher told Balbastro not to confront the suspect and urged him to get back into his car. Seconds later, as the dispatcher continued trying to get information from Balbastro, muffled talking and yelling is heard in the background along with the sound of a car engine revving and tires screeching, according to the transcripts.

Leday is accused of getting in Balbastro’s car and running down the three.

One woman who called 911 described the chaos to the dispatcher: “We can’t see. It’s very dark. Oh my God. … He just keeps driving everywhere. He’s in the street, he’s in the fence. He’s … oh, he keeps hitting those people. He just came back and, and kept hitting the people. He keeps crashing on top, … aye, he got a dog. He got a dog. He, he just got fast and got a dog. … Aye, he’s back. Oh no, no, he’s back. Aye. … He keeps coming back and running over people.”

Based on information from the callers it appears the suspect got out of the car at least once on a return to the scene and yelled at a neighbor who was outside.

Leday crashed the stolen car nearby and fled on foot, police said. Two weeks later U.S. Marshals in Kansas City, Mo., where Leday fled after the killings, arrested him. He has since been extradited to Tucson and faces two counts of first-degree murder. He is being held in the Pima County jail without bond.

Burnett died at the scene. Balbastro died at the hospital. The autopsy reports revealed Balbastro had a blood-alcohol level of 0.150, almost twice the legal limit for driving under the influence, and Burnett had a blood-alcohol level of 0.248.

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