PHOENIX—A fiery three-vehicle crash in which six people were killed and five others injured occurred after one driver who had a flat tire told her friend driving a second vehicle to change directions by crossing a freeway median to pull over and get help, authorities said.
The friend and her five children were killed in the July 2 wreck on Interstate 10 west of Phoenix, while the woman with the flat tire was seriously injured along with her four children in her vehicle, the Arizona Department of Public Safety said in a probable-cause statement released Friday.
Though there was ample paved space on the sides of the freeway to stop, the two vehicles both crossed the median in a no U-turn zone and then were going about 15 mph in a traffic lane when they were struck from behind by a big rig under the speed limit at 73 mph, the DPS said.
The crash split Natisha Moffitt’s car in half and it burst into flames, killing her and her five children, the DPS said.
The surviving driver who had asked Moffitt to follow her across the median was arrested Thursday on suspicion of four counts of aggravated assault and one count each of possession of dangerous drugs and possession of drug paraphernalia, the DPS said in a news release.
The four counts of aggravated assault related to the surviving woman’s actions while driving and the serious injuries suffered by her passengers, her four children, DPS spokesman Bart Graves told The Associated Press on Friday.
The drug charges apparently stemmed from a white powdery substance and a partly melted straw that a DPS probable-cause statement filed in court said a hospital security guard found in the surviving woman’s purse.
Online court records didn’t list an attorney for the surviving driver who could comment on her behalf.