A man died in a fiery crash early Saturday morning after a driver speeding on a south side street struck his vehicle, a police official said.
Bystanders were pulling a 22-year-old passenger out of a Honda Civic that was engulfed in flames when police arrived at the site of the 2 a.m. crash near the intersection of South Sixth Avenue and West Illinois Street just north of the Pima County Rodeo Grounds.
“The bystanders and arriving officers were unable to get the male driver out of the car,” Sgt. Chris Widmer, a spokesman for the Tucson Police Department, said in a news release.
Crews from the Tucson Fire Department extinguished the blaze and the driver was pronounced dead at the scene. Widmer did not have a name or an age for the victim.
His passenger was taken to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries, Widmer said.
Detectives “determined that a 2000 Chevrolet Impala was traveling southbound on Sixth Avenue in the curb lane at a high rate of speed,” Widmer said. “A 1994 Honda Civic turned southbound onto Sixth Avenue from a private drive on the west side of Sixth Avenue. The Chevy Impala rear-ended the Honda Civic. The Chevy Impala continued across the northbound lanes, jumped the curb, hit the bus bench canopy on the east side of the street, continued into a dirt lot and into a chain link fence. The Honda Civic came to rest in the southbound lanes of Sixth Avenue and immediately caught fire.”
Juan M. Hernandez-Rodriguez, 28, the driver of the Impala was taken to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries. His 24-year-old passenger had minor injuries, but did not go to the hospital, Widmer said.
Detectives determined Hernandez-Rodriguez “was under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs at the time of the collision,” Widmer said in the news release.
Hernandez-Rodriguez was booked into the Pima County jail and faces one count each of second-degree murder, aggravated assault, endangerment and felony criminal damage.