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Peoria crash kills community advocate, 14-year-old girl

Authorities suspect impairment and speed are beleived to be factors in the crash.

PEORIA, Ariz. — Three people are dead and numerous others are in the hospital after a car crash in Peoria late Sunday night, the city's police department said.

Those who died include 36-year-old Elizabeth Simpson from Glendale, 31-year-old Jace Hochstetler from Phoenix, his daughter, 8-year-old Evelyn Aurora Anne Hochstetler, and a 14-year-old girl who has yet to be identified by police.

Poice and fire-medical personnel arrived at the scene at around 9 p.m. near the intersection of 107th Avenue and Deer Valley Drive. Information from the scene reportedly points to the silver Mazda, driven by Simpson, making a left-hand turn when it was hit by a silver Jeep.

Simpson and Hochstetler were both in the Mazda, police said. They were both pronounced dead at the scene.

There were also four children in the Mazda, including the 14-year-old, who later died at a local hospital, police said. The three other children were also transported to the hospital, two with life-threatening injuries and one with minor injuries. One of those children, 8-year-old Evelyn Hochstetler, later died from her injuries. 

The driver of the Jeep sustained minor injuries, police said. Investigators are still gathering evidence, but they suspect impairment and speed were factors in the crash.

Hochstetler's employer sent the following statement to 12News:

“The Community Bridges Inc. family and the Arizona recovery community lost a committed warrior with the death of Jace Hochstetler at far too young an age.

Jace loved working for CBI. He loved being of service and helping people become the best version of themselves. Jace also loved his fiancé, Elizabeth, and his daughter. Every CBI worker who knew him, loved him and admired his fierce commitment to recovery -his own, and others.

As the CBI team works to get our minds around this loss, we will continue to be inspired by Jace. He may be gone, but he will never be forgotten. Our thoughts and hearts are with Jace and Elizabeth's loved ones as they struggle with this awful tragedy.”

A GoFundMe has been set up to help pay for Jace's funeral services and another GoFundMe account has been set up to pay for Evelyn's services. 

VERSIÓN EN ESPAÑOL: Policía: 3 personas muertas en choque en Peoria

RELATED: PD: 1 dead after multi-car crash in Scottsdale

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Deaths on Arizona roads

Data from the Arizona Department of Transportation shows that roadway fatalities have been gradually rising in Arizona over the last decade:

  • 2011: 825 deaths
  • 2012: 821 deaths
  • 2013: 844 deaths
  • 2014: 774 deaths
  • 2015: 895 deaths
  • 2016: 952 deaths
  • 2017: 1,000 deaths
  • 2018: 1,010 deaths
  • 2019: 982 deaths
  • 2020: 1,057 deaths

ADOT offers driving tips on its website to help keep people safe on the road.

"There’s always room for improvement when it comes to road safety," the department said on its website.

ADOT's suggestions include:

  • Don’t speed or drive aggressively
  • Never drive while under the influence of substances
  • Avoid distractions while driving
  • Wear your seatbelt and make sure all passengers are doing the same
  • When an emergency vehicle is on the side of the road, move over
  • Stay extra aware in work zones
  • Be prepared for weather conditions that make driving dangerous

Find more tips on the department's Driving Safety Homepage on ADOT's website here.

"Real-time highway conditions are available on ADOT’s Arizona Traveler Information site at az511.gov, by calling 511, downloading the AZ 511 app and through ADOT’s Twitter feed, @ArizonaDOT," the department said.

RELATED: 4-year-old boy struck and killed by truck in Buckeye

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