A fender-bender turned deadly Saturday night when an SUV rolled over an Interstate 10 barrier and into oncoming traffic near Wild Horse Pass Hotel and Casino. The result was a five-car pileup, two deaths, and the arrest of a woman who made headlines eight years ago for calling in a school bomb threat.
The accident was set in motion when 26-year-old Lauren Tamburrelli rear-ended the Toyota SUV while driving intoxicated, according to the Arizona Department of Public Safety report.
Tamburrelli staggered away from her wrecked Hyundai after unbuckling her 3-year-old daughter from the car seat, witnesses said. They tried to help Tamburrelli stay upright as she attempted to leave the scene, but she became hostile toward them and began yelling.
When one trooper asked Tamburrelli what happened, she responded in slurred speech that one minute she was driving and the next, she was there at the scene. She refused to answer any more questions and walked away from troopers, saying she wanted a lawyer.
Tamburrelli fought officers when they arrested her. After struggling to get Tamburrelli in the patrol car, a trooper reported that the odor of alcohol grew even worse and Tamburrelli "almost vomited while she spoke to herself with incoherent sentences."
She was later charged with second-degree murder, DUI, and nine counts of endangerment. She is currently being held in jail on a $500,000 bond.
DPS spokesman Quentin Mehr said he could not comment on the investigation.
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Tempe locals might recognize Tamburrelli's name and mugshot: She was arrested, then convicted, for calling in a fake bomb threat to Corona Del Sol High School in March 2009.
Tamburrelli and her accomplice, Laurin Godson, sent the high school a handwritten letter promising that "large parts of the school will be destroyed" before later phoning in the fake threat. The school was shut down the following day.
Police took less than a week to find evidence linking the two 18-year-olds to the hoax. Godson admitted that she wanted the day off school because she had a court hearing for a previous shoplifting stint and didn't want to use up her absences. Godson said she was saving her excused absences for the end of the year "senior ditch day," according to a Maricopa County Attorney press release at the time.
Both girls received 250 community service hours and were required to pay $19,000 in restitution to pay back the money lost by closing the school and wasting police resources.