Teen, unborn baby killed after crash sent car onto Phoenix sidewalk

Teen, unborn baby killed after crash sent car onto Phoenix sidewalk

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – A man and a teen’s unborn baby are dead after a crash sent a car careening onto the sidewalk late Thursday morning. It happened at about 11:15 a.m. in the area of 35th Avenue and Bell Road.

Phoenix police and family members identified the victim as 18-year-old Jonathan Marroquin.

Sgt. Maggie Cox of the Phoenix Police Department said it started with a two-vehicle crash. A Ford Mustang driven by a 63-year-old woman was getting ready to turn left from eastbound Bell Road. That's when the second car, a Dodge Avenger driven by a 25-year-old man, was driving west at a high rate of speed and entered the intersection, colliding with the Mustang.

Cox said the Avenger then spun around and continued several hundred feet west and went up "onto the sidewalk and struck several pedestrians."

Marroquin died at the hospital. A 15-year-old girl who was 31 weeks pregnant lost her baby, police on the scene said. The 15-year-old reportedly suffered serious injuries but is expected to survive. An 18-year-old woman was taken to the hospital, as well, and is expected to recover.

Jonathan's brother, Jeremy Marroquin, said he believes he died protecting the pregnant girl.

"He's a hero. He's a hero most definitely a hero. I'm just grateful he was able to save her, you know," Jeremy said.

"That would be something that he would do. He would," said Tammy Nagel, a who taught Morroquin's senior English class at Central High School. She said she's remembering the teen for his kindness, saying he would stay behind after class to say goodbye and tell her that he hoped she'd have a nice day. "I never really imagined that one of my students would do something so heroic and not think at all about it and just do it," she said.

"I love him so much, you know?" said Bryan Landa, who'd attended Central High School with Morroquin. He brought a picture of Morroquin to a growing memorial at the crash site.

Morroquin's brother and his family were there earlier, searching for a special ring they recently gave him. "He got his high school diploma and he wanted a ring. We got him a ring with a prayer on it with a gold cross to protect him. And I think it protected him in a way to where he's with God now," Jeremy said.

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He added that Morroquin spent Christmas with him and his family. "We were all there and he was just happy with my daughter, and I would say that's a blessing," said Jeremy. He also wanted to thank the bystanders who jumped into help their brother. One of those was William Frye.

"I literally heard a 'bang' and then watched them flying through the air like rag dolls," Frye said.

Investigators believe the victims had just gotten off a bus. "There were some other pedestrians that were struck and injured but were not transported," Cox said. She also said neither one of the drivers was taken to the hospital.

Cox said both drivers were evaluated and determined not to be impaired but that the Avenger's speed appears to be a factor in the crash. Investigators will be submitting charges for manslaughter, aggravated assault and endangerment for the driver of the Avenger. His name has not yet been released.

Marroquin's family has set up a GoFundMe for funeral expenses.

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