Over the weekend, motorists along Interstate 10 near Tangerine had to wait for nearly nine hours after a crash that left a man from Texas dead. Authorities have now said what investigators believed to be an impairment accident has now turned into a homicide investigation.
Station KOLD in Tucson reports that the crash that happened on Saturday in the westbound I-10 near the 230 and 236 exits left Hondo, Texas resident Lawrence Sofaly, 74, dead, and another two people injured.
The Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) released a statement on Tuesday about why motorists were left stranded for so long while the crash was being investigated. Authorities suspect that impairment was a factor in the fatal crash. Bart Graves from DPS issued the following statement to journalists and the public.
“Since we had a suspicion that this was a DUI-related fatal collision, investigators from the Vehicular Crimes Unit took over the investigation. This was a very large collision scene with lots of debris. Unfortunately, the entire roadway became a crime scene.”
Because many motorists expressed concerns about running out of gas or water, DPS officers cut a section of right of way fencing and directed them around the crash scene via surface streets to get to alternate State Routes 77, 79, and 87 to reach Phoenix.
DPS said part of the problem for traffic being so backed up was that some drivers slowed down to get a look at the crash scene. Still, other motorists were taking pictures and video from the scene and causing unnecessary delays for other drivers on the highway.