Litchfield Park man charged after crash near Tonopah leaves girl dead

Eric McMorris (MCSO)

Officials have charged a Litchfield Park man in the death of an 8-year-old girl as a result of a crash on Interstate 10 earlier this week, according to the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

On Tuesday, Oct. 17 at about 6:30 a.m., a Chevrolet Tahoe, driven by Eric C. McMorris, 31 of Litchfield Park, was traveling eastbound along I-10. Kodie L. Johnson, a 23-year-old woman from Litchfield Park, and five children were also in the vehicle.

Witnesses told investigators the vehicle was driven in a reckless manner by speeding and swerving all over the road.

Mr. McMorris eventually lost control of the vehicle in the area of milepost 68.7 near Tonopah. The vehicle traveled into the median, then back across the traffic lanes and finally rolled over into a dirt area, according to DPS.

Ms. Johnson and two children were ejected from within the vehicle. DPS said Ms. Johnson and one of those children were not properly restrained and sustained serious injuries.

Although the second child was wearing safety restraints, she was ejected and sustained fatal injuries, according to DPS.

“We (are) not entirely sure of the relationship between McMorris and the victim,” said Bart Graves, media specialist for DPS.

Mr. McMorris, Ms. Johnson and four children were transported to Valley hospitals for treatment of their injuries.

Upon his release from the hospital, Mr. McMorris was arrested and booked into a Maricopa County jail on charges of manslaughter, aggravated assault, physical abuse and endangerment.

His bond is set at $500,000 and will appear in court on Oct. 25.

State detectives are investigating and additional charges may result.

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