PEORIA, Ariz. (AP/FOX 10) -- A 2-mile (3.2-kilometer) stretch of a freeway was closed for some time on Friday, as police responded to an incident that involved a homicide and car crash.
The northbound Loop 101 (Agua Fria) freeway was closed in Peoria between Peoria Avenue and Thunderbird Road. The freeway has since reopened.
Arizona Department of Public Safety says both troopers and Peoria Police were alerted to calls for a crash and a stabbing.
DPS says a car crashed into a drainage channel on the side of the freeway. Immediately after the crash, there was an altercation between the male and female in that car. Witnesses told police the man got out of the car and started stabbing the woman.
The man, identified by DPS on March 22 as 25-year-old Fernando Acosta of Phoenix, was taken into custody and then transported to the hospital, as well as the woman. The man has minor injuries, however, the woman, who was in her early 30s, has died.
According to court documents, the woman is identified as Martha Thy. Family members tell Fox 10 she leaves behind children and they're urging people to be aware of domestic violence.
Police say Acosta drove Thy's Lexus off the L-101 just before Thunderbird Road before colliding into a fence. Witnesses say Acosta came out with a knife, intimidating bystanders, and then stabbed Thy repeatedly. Thy crawled out of her car, but Acosta allegedly grabbed her by the hair and continued his attack. Witnesses eventually stopped him, by Thy had been stabbed at least 20 times and died at a nearby hospital.
Alexandra Damian says Acosta moved in next door just a few weeks ago but she never expected to see authorities investigating this Phoenix apartment unit.
"There was just a bunch of cops with the SWAT team out here, knocking on his house," Damian said. "And then they just told us to go inside and lock our doors and just get inside our room and that was it."
Neighbors say DPS troopers sent Friday evening combing the apartment.
"They were just knocking [and] banging on the door," neighbor Bianca Villegas said. "And they were here a couple [of] hours. Several hours, actually."
"Who was I living next to?" Damian said. "It's pretty scary, you know, because now it's like, you gotta know who you live around and who these people are."
Meanwhile, Acosta has been booked into the 4th Avenue Jail for First Degree Murder and Aggravated Assault charges. His next court appearance is scheduled for March 29.
DPS: Woman in her 30’s is dead after a crash & stabbing. Man in his 20’s recovering from injuries. Witnesses say they saw the man stabbing the woman after the car crashed. They stepped in to help. Loop 101 N from Peoria to Thunderbird will be closed most of the day. #Fox10phoenix pic.twitter.com/7eE1mDapat— Danielle Miller FOX10 (@Fox10Danielle) March 22, 2019
According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, traffic can reenter at Thunderbird. There is no estimated time to reopen the freeway.
Expect delays because of very heavy traffic in parts of the Valley.— Arizona DOT (@ArizonaDOT) March 22, 2019
Also, L-101 Agua northbound between Peoria and Thunderbird is expected to remain closed most of the day for a DPS investigation. #PhxTraffic pic.twitter.com/HIHQecKeO8
VIDEO from the scene: facebook.com/FOX10Phoenix/videos/2498539636841781
Barely moving-nb 101 Aqua Fria at Peoria Ave. @Arizona_DPS working a scene that reportedly involves a car that drove off the freeway. @mrobisonfox10 @FOX10Phoenix #Fox10phoenix pic.twitter.com/dzhyeaBgoS— Anita Roman Fox 10 (@ANITAROMANFOX10) March 22, 2019
A viewer shared with FOX 10 a video that shows the moments following the crash. The video shows bystanders at the scene completely on edge, cautious of the man standing by the wrecked car.
"He's killing somebody," one person was heard saying.
"Hey! Get away from her! Get away from her!" another person was heard saying.
Gretchen Pahia lives nearby, and ran outside to the char, with her kids inside her house.
"Being home along with them, hearing gunshots was pretty terrifying," said Pahia.