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1 dead, 2 hurt after car ran out of gas causes crash on I-17 in Phoenix

A deadly crash investigation is underway  on the I-17 in north Phoenix.
A deadly crash investigation is underway on the I-17 in north Phoenix.(Arizona's Family)
Published: May. 23, 2022 at 6:14 AM MST|Updated: May. 23, 2022 at 9:22 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- A woman is dead and two people are in the hospital after an early-morning crash that closed the northbound lanes of Interstate 17 on Monday, causing a massive traffic backup going into the morning rush hour.

According to the Department of Public Safety, a driver in a black Toyota Camry ran out of gas near Thunderbird Road and was stopped in the center lane. The hazard lights were not on, according to DPS Capt. Alan Haywood. That’s when 49-year-old Iwanda Mitchell crashed into the car. Mitchell got out of her Tesla and then a driver in a Honda Pilot hit Mitchell and her car. She died at the scene.

Three men in the Pilot ran off but DPS troopers later found them. One man was taken to the hospital with injuries that aren’t considered life-threatening. The driver in the Camry, also a woman, was driven to the hospital and she should survive, DPS said. Troopers said there may have been another vehicle involved but didn’t elaborate.

Video from the scene showed a heavy traffic backup through much of north Phoenix and three cars with extensive head-on damage. The freeway reopened around 8:30 a.m. and some residual delays remained through the late morning commute. Investigators are asking anyone who saw the crash to call contact DPS at 602-223-2212 or submit a tip online at www.azdps.gov/tips.

Haywood said if you find yourself in a disabled vehicle on the freeway and can get out safely, you should do it and then get as far away from traffic as possible, preferably behind a barrier.