State highway officials said six teens and young adults were injured when a stolen vehicle rolled over during a pursuit early Tuesday morning.
The incident began before 1 a.m. Feb. 6, when the Phoenix Police Department attempted to stop a blue Hyundai Santa Fe near 19th Avenue and Baseline Road that had been reported stolen.
The Phoenix Firebird helicopter was overhead during the attempted stop. According to the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the driver failed to yield to Phoenix officers, who then stopped following the vehicle and let the helicopter take over.
The vehicle traveled through city streets and then headed north on Interstate 17.
Helicopter officials notified DPS troopers of the stolen vehicle and its location. The troopers located the vehicle and also attempted to stop it on northbound I-17 near Thunderbird Road. However, the driver didn’t stop and DPS started pursuing.
As the pursuit continued north and neared Deer Valley Road, an on-duty sergeant asked troopers to stop and allow the helicopter to continue to follow.
Troopers followed command and shortly after, the vehicle exited at Pinnacle Peak Road. At that point the troopers no longer had sight of the vehicle.
The helicopter continued following the vehicle, providing updated locations to troopers.
The vehicle traveled east on Pinnacle Peak Road and then “blacked out”, which DPS said means the driver turned off all of the vehicle’s lights. DPS said the driver continued and turned south on 7th Street, where he lost control of the vehicle, causing it to roll over.
Officials said two of the occupants were ejected from the vehicle.
Troopers arrived about a minute after the crash and found a total of six occupants.
The driver and a female passenger were transported to the hospital in critical condition. The remaining occupants were all treated on scene with minor to no injuries.
Phoenix Fire Department Capt. Chris Gentry said those in the vehicle range in age from 15 to 25.
The Phoenix Police Department’s Vehicular Crimes Unit is taking control of the crash and criminal investigation.
DPS is conducting an internal investigation per policy.
Officials closed 7th Street from Pinnacle Peak to Deer Valley roads. It is unknown when the area will reopen.