PHOENIX - Phoenix police have released more details about the circumstances that led up to a fiery crash that killed two women and a 13-year-old girl on Monday night.
According to detectives, a 14-year-old boy was behind the wheel of a stolen Ford Expedition at the time of the crash. Six passengers in the car ranged in age from 13 to 38 years old. The vehicle was reported stolen from the Metrocenter Mall parking lot on Sunday afternoon and the keys were left inside, per police.
The investigation into the crash is still ongoing and it is unclear why the teen was driving and how he obtained the stolen vehicle.
A spokesperson for the Department of Public Safety says no DPS trooper was in pursuit of the vehicle at the time of the crash. The trooper initially noticed the vehicle was speeding and then activated his lights after confirming with dispatch the vehicle was reported stolen.
At that point, the spokesperson says the vehicle sped away and the trooper lost sight of the car near Cactus Road, then requested help in locating the vehicle from the Phoenix police helicopter, which was near Metrocenter Mall. Minutes later, the helicopter reported the collision.
A witness described seeing a white car zoom past him as he exited Interstate 17 and Greenway before the crash occurred. The driver of the other vehicle involved was not injured.
The man says he helped pull a teenage girl and the teen driver from the vehicle and said both were conscious, but the girl was in extremely critical condition.
Detectives are still working to identify all passengers in the SUV and could not provide details about how they are connected.