Man struck, killed by alleged drunk driver while changing tire
PHOENIX (KSAZ) - A man was killed after he was struck by an alleged drunk driver while changing a tire along Interstate 17.
The Arizona Department of Public Safety says three people were standing outside their vehicle on the far right shoulder of southbound I-17 near 16th Street just before midnight on Monday when a pickup truck struck all three victims.
A 22-year-old man was taken to a nearby hospital where he later died. The other victims at the scene suffered minor injuries.
"So outgoing, so outspoken.. always stood up for what was right and he always protected his family," said Patricia Variale about her son, Steven. "He was always happy.. he was my only son.. he was always there for me."
Patricia says Steven was a special person. He had just turned 22 and wanted to be a trooper. His sister says she can't believe a drunk driver ended his short, but full life.
"He made that decision to get behind the wheel and he knew he was intoxicated and he still made that decision and unfortunately that cost someone their life and that just happened to be our brother."
Patricia says even though she wants justice, she lost a part of her she will never get back.
"It doesn't matter what the sentence is, it's not going to bring my son back.. it ain't gonna change the situation."
Ronald Hull, the 61-year-old driver of the pickup truck, was taken into custody on suspicion of DUI. His name has not been released.
The southbound lanes of I-17 at Seventh Street reopened the morning commute on Tuesday.