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'I don't want her to be another number': Calls for change after 3 die in Loop 101 wrong-way crash

After three people died in a wrong-way crash on the Loop 101 last weekend, family and friends of one of the victims are calling for change.

PHOENIX — Deadly wrong-way crashes are not new in Arizona, but how to prevent them might be, after friends and family of a recent victim aim to push for change.

Last Sunday, Angel Marie Lopez Carrillo, 29, and her boyfriend, Reginald Porter, 27, were driving north on the Loop 101 near Camelback Road around 2:30 a.m., when a car driving the wrong way hit them head-on. The couple died on scene.

The wrong-way driver, Caleb Bencomo, 23, was ejected from his vehicle and also died. Investigators believe he was impaired.

“She was just a very lovable, caring person,” said Anastasia Prophete, Carillo’s best friend. “She was just full of life, kind to people. So nice.”

Prophete says she knew Carrillo for 13 years, they even got matching tattoos. She says losing Angel, was like losing a sister, that’s why now she is pushing for change in hopes to prevent future wrong-way crashes.

“I don’t want her to be another number,” said Karen Voltaire, Phrophete’s mother and Carillo’s family friend. “We want to make a difference.”

According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, two out of three wrong-way crashes are caused by impaired drivers, that often have blood-alcohol levels more than twice the legal limit.

To prevent wrong-way crashes, ADOT added flashing lights, bigger “wrong way” signs, and installed thermal cameral systems on several highways across the valley:

• On the I-17 from the stack to the Loop 101

• At interchanges along the new Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway

• Along the Loop 101 from the U.S. 60 to Loop 202 San Tan

• On Loop 303

Crews will be installing the thermal cameras along the Loop 101 from I-17 to Princess Drive in North Scottsdale as part of widening project there. But Angel’s friends say more needs to be done.

“Like how many more crashes do they need to see before it gets worse,” said Prophet.

She created the “Angel’s Way” petition directed at Governor Doug Ducey. It asks for tire spikes and large yellow barrels to be installed at ramps, in an effort to stall wrong-way cars before they make it to the highway.

“I’m not going to stop until something is said to any of us that says, ‘we’re going to figure this out’,” said Prophete.

They have set up a GoFundMe account to help the family with funeral expenses.

On Sunday May 9, they will be releasing balloons to honor Carillo’s memory. That will happen at 5 p.m. at Golden Margaritas on Roosevelt Street in Phoenix.

“Unfortunately, we’re not promised tomorrow, but let’s make a difference now, in Angel’s memory,” said Voltaire.

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