Driver in fatal Phoenix hit-and-run crash pleads not guilty - KCTV5 News


Driver in fatal Phoenix hit-and-run crash pleads not guilty

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One person died after being hit at this bus stop by a sedan early Monday morning. (Source: CBS 5 News) One person died after being hit at this bus stop by a sedan early Monday morning. (Source: CBS 5 News)

A woman suspected of driving a car that crashed into a bus stop and killed a man pleaded not guilty.

Elsa Olivares, 22, had her arraignment on Wednesday morning in Maricopa County Superior Court on charges of second-degree murder, aggravated assault, endangerment and hit and run causing death.

Phoenix police said they were waiting at an apartment when Olivares arrived and she turned herself in. She told police she had used alcohol and marijuana before driving. She had fled the scene of the crash by hitching a ride from a passing motorist and taken to the area of 39th Avenue and Camelback Road, according to a probable cause statement. She then borrowed a phone and called for a taxi to take her home, officers said.

Police were still looking for a man believed to be a passenger in the car, Phoenix police Sgt. Steve Martos said.

Harry Cleveland, 50, was killed and another man injured when the black sedan slammed into the bus stop near 27th Avenue and Indian School Road about 4 a.m., Martos said. 

A third person sitting on the bench was able to jump to safety, Martos said.

Officers said Olivares was driving north on 27th Avenue and admitted to intentionally disregarding a red signal light at Indian School Road.

As she passed through the intersection, she had to make an evasive maneuver to avoid colliding with at least one westbound vehicle, police said. Olivares lost control and left the roadway, colliding with the bus stop on the northeast corner of the intersection.

The entire bus stop structure was destroyed as a result of the collision.

During a police interview, Olivares admitted to drinking four or five beers before driving and taking two hits from a marijuana cigarette, a court document stated. Once on the road, she estimated she was driving at least 60 mph in a posted 40 mph zone.

Asked by police why she was speeding, Olivares said she was mad at her mother after she was told by her mother to go to bed to be with her 4-year-old twin children asleep in the home, the court document stated.

Police obtained a warrant to obtain a blood sample and Olivares was booked in jail on charges of second-degree murder, aggravated assault, endangerment and leaving the scene of a fatal collision.

Her next court date is July 15.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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