5-car collision in west Phoenix leaves 1 dead, 9 injured

A person is dead and nine others remain in the hospital after a five-car pileup near 67th Avenue and Coolidge Street Saturday afternoon.

The collision happened at around 12:45 p.m. just south of Camelback Road on June 3. At least one of the vehicles had rolled over.

A woman died from her injuries after the crash. She was identified as 68-year-old Martha Alicia Cervantes Inzunza.

Phoenix Fire released details about the surviving patients and the severity of their injuries:

  • 1 adult in extremely critical condition
  • 1 adolescent boy, 2 adults in critical condition
  • 5 adults in stable condition, had delayed transport to the hospital

Police said Saturday night that everyone hospitalized is expected to survive.

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It all reportedly started when three vehicles were heading northbound on 67th Avenue, and one of them tried to pass another car "in an unsafe manner," according to Sgt. Rob Scherer with Phoenix PD.

"They ended up striking the two other northbound vehicles," Scherer said in a statement. "This caused the at fault vehicle and one of the cars they struck to travel into oncoming southbound traffic."

The two cars that were pushed into oncoming traffic hit two other cars heading southbound.

Martha Inzunza, the woman who died, was a passenger in one of the southbound vehicles.

Police say impairment and speed are believed to be factors in the crash, but it's not known if any arrests will be made.

'Car was on fire, engulfed'

Witnesses say neighbors didn’t even think about helping these victims – they just started to help.

Walking in the Maryvale neighborhood, Uysess says he’s shocked by the sight of the crash.

"That is just insane to me," he said. "Man, I feel just horrible for whoever are relatives to them."

A driver described what they saw, saying, "I was just driving down to my friend's house, driving down 67th going to Camelback, and I see a Charger just losing control, just lost control."

He says he was one of the drivers involved in the crash –  he’s OK.

"As soon as that happened, I pulled over and tried to help. Everyone from the neighborhood started helping," he said.

One of those neighbors was David Castro.

"We hear someone screaming and saw the car crash. Car was on fire, engulfed. Just a bunch of disarray going on," Castro said. "All the neighbors started to come out and started giving a hand. Kid was trapped inside the car. It was burning, but they were gripping the door and pulled him out."

He says he saw people turn into heroes.

"My neighbor actually ran across the street, came back to the house, got his hose, and put out the fire. He was also directing traffic, so he was like Superman," Castro said.

Rick Murray, President of the Arizona Chapter of the National Safety Council, says the tragedy is a troubling reminder of something happening too often on our roads.

"We need to take it as the responsibility that it really is. As we are driving around, we are taking everybody else's lives into our own hands as we get into that car," he said.

As officers processed the scene for hours outside his home, Castro says he’s proud of his community for stepping up.

"We are family no matter what. That’s how Maryvale has always been," he said.

Where the crash happened: