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Tucson police: Driver facing murder charge in south-side collision
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Tucson police: Driver facing murder charge in south-side collision

Woman, 24, was killed, another person injured in wreck, Tucson police say

Jesus Ismael Rodriguez, 39, is facing second-degree murder charge in connection with a fatal crash on Feb. 21.

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A woman died in a crash involving a drunken driver early Sunday, officials said. 

Around 12:40 a.m. Sunday, officers responded to the intersection of South Campbell Avenue and East Bilby Road for a serious-injury crash involving two vehicles, the Tucson Police Department said in a news release. 

Reina Alexis Cota, 24, was driving a 2009 Chevrolet Malibu north when Jesus Ismael Rodriguez, 39, failed to stop for a red light driving a 1998 Jeep Cherokee east on Bilby Road, police said. Cota was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

The passenger in the Malibu was taken to Banner-University Medical Center with serious injuries. 

Rodriguez was taken to Banner-UMC for minor injuries, police said.

An officer responded to the hospital and determined Rodriguez was impaired when the crash occurred.

Rodriguez was booked into Pima County Jail where he's facing a second-degree murder charge as well as charges of aggravated assault, endangerment and criminal damage, police said.

The Pima County Sheriff's Department said Tuesday one of its deputies saw the Jeep traveling at excessive speed early Sunday in the area of East Valencia Road and South Country Club Road and attempted a traffic stop.

The SUV entered an apartment complex in the 6200 block of South Campbell Avenue, briefly stopped and then fled before the deputy could make contact, the department said in a news release.

The deputy did not pursue the vehicle but had requested support from the sheriff's air unit, which obtained surveillance of the vehicle.

Shortly after the driver fled the traffic stop, the Jeep was involved in the fatal crash, the department said.

The sheriff's department said it is conducting a traffic investigation and a separate review of the deputy's actions.

Contact reporter Stephanie Casanova at scasanova@tucson.com. On Twitter: @CasanovaReports

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