TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The Saturday afternoon crash that left a Texas man dead and turned Interstate 10 westbound into a parking lot is now a homicide investigation, state officials said.
Arizona DPS said investigators believe impairment was a factor in the crash that killed 74-year-old Lawrence Sofaly, from Hondo, Texas, and injured two others.
The accident happened around noon on I-10 westbound near the 230 and 236 exits.
The roadway was closed for almost nine hours, leaving several stranded motorists frustrated.
KOLD News 13 asked DPS about the closure to see if anything else could have been done to speed up the reopening.
“Since we had a suspicion that this was a DUI-related fatal collision, investigators from the Vehicular Crimes Unit took over the investigation,” said Bart Graves, a DPS spokesman. “This was a very large collision scene with lots of debris. Unfortunately the entire roadway became a crime scene.”
During the closure, drivers were asked to use surface streets to get to State Routes 77, 79 and 87 to reach Phoenix.
“For those motorists who had already passed the off-ramp and were stuck, we cut down a section of the right-of-way fence and let them out of the area,” Graves said. “It’s important to note that we had an enormous problem with motorists that purposely slowed down or stopped to either look at one of the wrecked vehicles or to take photos. This was a major factor in the backup.”