On March 12 at 2:25 pm, one of our detectives came across an accident that had just occurred in the eastbound lanes of University, just east of Alma School. She saw a damaged scooter and person laying in the roadway, immediately alerted dispatch of the accident and began life saving efforts on the victim, who ultimately succumbed to his injuries and was later identified as 22-year-old Mason Merrill. Witnesses to the accident provided details to the detective about the other vehicle involved which had fled the scene, describing it as on older lifted blue truck. The detective immediately broadcast the description of this vehicle, which was located by another officer who followed it to a residence in the 1300 block of West 7th Avenue in Mesa.
Our investigation to this point has indicated the scooter was traveling east on University from Alma School when the collision occurred. The truck, driven by a 15-year-old Hispanic male and occupied by three other juveniles, was facing west in the left hand turn lane, directly across from the Jack In The Box entrance. Witnesses indicate the truck turned left to enter the private drive, crossing the eastbound lanes, when it was struck by the scooter. After the collision, the truck continued into the private drive and stopped. Witness testimony indicates the occupants exited the truck and ran over to the victim, but then returned to the truck and left the scene.
Initial statements at the residence, damage to the truck and at least one witness identification indicates the truck located was involved and the 15-year-old juvenile identified was the driver. The suspect, whom possessed only a learner’s permit, would later invoke his rights during interview and was returned to the custody of his parents along with his 14-year-old sister, believed to be one of the other passengers. We are still investigating and need to identify and interview the other juvenile passengers of the truck.
This is a failure to yield scenario. Pending completion of our investigation, a submittal for Leaving the Scene of a Fatality (among other civil traffic violations) will be made to the Juvenile Maricopa County Attorney’s Office regarding our 15 year-old suspect.