SAN TAN VALLEY, AZ (KOLD News 13) - The 17-year-old driver in a crash that killed three teens in San Tan Valley on Tuesday, Feb. 19 is being charged as an adult.
According to information from the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, Juan Sanchez was the lone survivor of the crash. He allegedly admitted to deputies that he was under the influence of marijuana at the time of the crash. He faces several charges including three counts of first degree murder under the “felony murder” rule, and felony flight.
Sanchez is being held at the Pinal County Adult Detention facility.
A PCSO deputy attempted a traffic stop around 11 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19 on a vehicle that had been speeding and had expired vehicle registration tags, near Schnepf Road and Hash Knife Draw.
According to PCSO, the driver did not pull over for the deputy and instead sped away. The deputy followed the vehicle briefly, but before he could catch up with it, the driver lost control and hit a cement barricade on Schnepf Road between Ocotillo Road and Combs.
The three passengers, a 16-year-old boy and two 18-year-old men, were declared dead at the scene. Sanchez, who was the only one wearing a seatbelt, received minor injuries. He was taken to the hospital for treatment.
Deputies discovered marijuana and other drugs in the vehicle, as well as a large amount of cash and several weapons, including an AR15, an MP40 style submachine gun, a shotgun and two handguns during the investigation.
The names of the three teens who died have not been released, pending next of kin notification.