Deputies from the Pinal County Sheriff ’s Office say alcohol was involved in a fiery high-speed crash in San Tan Valley in which a woman’s body was found in the burned-out frame of a car late Sunday night, March 1.
A witness told deputies that Joseph Wilson, 21, of San Tan Valley, the woman and others had been drinking at the San Tan Flats Bar before the one-car crash at 11:26 p.m. in the area of Sun-dance Drive and War Dance Circle, just north of San Tan Mountain Regional Park, a PCSO spokesman said in a press release.
Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu said in a press release the suspect was charged with manslaughter, bribery and false reporting to a law enforcement agency, and was booked into the Maricopa County Jail.
The 1965 Ford Roadster the suspect was allegedly driving was completely engulfed inflames and exploded, the spokesman said. The suspect told a deputy he uses 102-octane racing fuel in the car, the spokesman said.
Fire crews found the body of the woman, believed to be 27 years old and also from San Tan Valley, in the front passenger’s seat.
PCSO detectives were waiting for the Medical Examiner’s Office to confirm her identity before her name was released.
Suspect Wilson initially identified himself as Joseph Thompson because he said he thought there was a warrant out of Texas for his arrest, the spokesman said.
A deputy said the suspect pulled a “wad of cash” from his pocket and attempted to hand it to the deputy and said, “It doesn’t have to be like this.
The Pinal County Sheriff ’s Vehicular Crimes Unit determined the suspect was driving 60 to 70 mph westbound on Sun-dance Road when he lost control of the vehicle and drove into the desert area, knocking down a fence before rolling over. The car was approximately 100 feet from the road when it came to rest, the spokesman said.
The suspect was taken to Scottsdale Memorial Hospital, where he was treated and released for injuries he sustained during the crash. A blood sample was collected and was to be tested for alcohol concentration by the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
Staff at Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn Medical Center said Mr. Wilson’s blood-alcohol content was 0.148 percent, nearly double the state’s legal limit of 0.08 percent.
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Steve Stout writes for CBS 5 News