FOUNTAIN HILLS, Ariz. (KSAZ) - Authorities say three pedestrians are dead and another critically injured after an SUV struck a group of people on a sidewalk in the Phoenix suburb of Fountain Hills.
"I had just opened up the store, and I had heard a really loud noise," said Tim Budnick, who owns a store in Fountain Hills.
Maricopa County Sheriff’s officials say two men and two women were standing on the sidewalk around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at the intersection of Palisades and Saguaro near Fountain Park. On Thursday, Sgt. Joaquin Enriquez with the Maricopa County Sheriff's office identified the four as 71-year-old Karen Bonta, 72-year-old Robert Bonta, 60-year-old Patti Doornbos, and 60-year-old Ronald Doornbos.
According to MCSO officials on Thursday, the four were walking north on the east sidewalk of Saguaro Blvd. when they were struck.
"There was four people laying in the intersection," said Budnick, "It was an unbelievable scene. I immediately saw a man who was laying there, and I just kind of held his hand and I told him, 'are you there? can you see me? What's your name?'"
According to MCSO officials on Thursday, Karen Bonta and Patti Doornbos were pronounced dead at the scene. Robert Bonta, meanwhile, died at the hospital, while Ronald Doornbos is currently in the ICU.
Officials say the SUV driven by 27-year-old Alex Bashaw jumped the curb and ran into the four pedestrians, whose names haven’t been released yet.
"We clearly have him going onto the sidewalk, so something happened," said Joaquin Enriquez with MCSO. "That's where our investigators have to investigate to see, what physical evidence is left at the scene, collaborated with this statements to see exactly what happened."
Authorities have released the driver, however, it is unknown why he drove his car onto the sidewalk. MCSO officials say speed and impairment aren't believed to be factors in the incident.
.@mcsoaz says four people were hit on a sidewalk. Three died, one in surgery in bad shape. Driver in his 20s released. No info right now as to why driver went up on sidewalk. #FOX10Phoenix pic.twitter.com/uRTb0OfjXo— Ty Brennan (@TyFox10) March 13, 2018
MCSO Traffic Investigators on scene at Saguaro and Palisades in Fountain Hills reference fatal car vs pedestrian accident. Roads will be closed for several hours. pic.twitter.com/23ZXAXTTxf— @SgtJEnriquez (@SgtJEnriquez) March 13, 2018
The Associated Press contributed to this report.