NATIONAL NEWS

Driver charged in deadly Arizona crash after report cast doubt on his claim that steering locked up

Mar 14, 2024, 5:12 PM

GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) — A driver who said his pickup’s steering locked up right before he hit a group of bicyclists near Phoenix a year ago has been charged in connection with the deadly crash, authorities said Thursday.

Prosecutors in the city of Goodyear announced their decision to prosecute Pedro Quintana-Lujan weeks after a National Transportation Safety Board report cast serious doubt on the driver’s claim. The report said testing on the truck found nothing wrong with the steering.

Quintana-Lujan initially was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter, aggravated assault and endangerment after the Feb. 25, 2023, crash on a Goodyear bridge. Two bicyclists were killed and 17 more injured.

The driver was later released while Goodyear police investigated further. Authorities said at the time that it appeared to be an accident, and in November the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office announced it would not pursue charges.

Quintana-Lujan is now charged with two counts of causing death by a moving violation and nine counts of causing serious physical injury by a moving violation — all misdemeanors. He faces up to 5 1/2 years if convicted of all the counts.

According to the NTSB report, the Arizona Department of Public Safety also found nothing wrong with the vehicle’s steering.

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Driver charged in deadly Arizona crash after report cast doubt on his claim that steering locked up