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2 teens killed, 2 teens injured after car crashes into tree in Surprise

Surprise police say the single-vehicle crash happened near 151st Avenue and Paradise Lane.

SURPRISE, Ariz. — Police say two teenagers have died and two other teens are in the hospital after the car they were riding in crashed into a tree in Surprise on Wednesday night.

The single-vehicle crash happened near 151st Avenue and Paradise Lane, according to the Surprise Police Department.

The 17-year-old driver was pronounced dead at the scene. A 16-year-old passenger, who has not yet been identified, was also killed in the crash.

The two teens who were not killed -- ages 18 and 15 -- were also injured. The 18-year-old passenger, Catcher Knapp, was identified as one of the teens injured in the crash Wednesday evening.

Those who knew the driver said he was passionate about soccer and was always fun to be around. 

"He was like one of my childhood best friends since kindergarten. he was really into soccer, and every time it was recess we always would play soccer together. He was really good at it, and he's a really good kid. It's sad to see him go," said Marcos Garza, a childhood friend. 

"It was very sad today. Everyone who knew him was crying. They held like a grieving thing in the lecture hall for those who weren't feeling too well, which I went to because knowing him for that long was very hard on me," Garza added.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

Stay with 12News for updates on this developing story.

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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.

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