Drunk Driver in Pickup Slams Into Car, Killing Other Driver, Cops Say; Another Fatal Collision This Morning at Same Intersection


Police arrested a 24-year-old man in connection with a fatal DUI collision early Saturday morning.

Andre Jeremy Wilkinson was driving his 2008 Nissan Titan pickup at about 4 a.m. when he slammed into the back of a 1995 Buick that was stopped at a red light at the corner of Cactus Road and 51st Avenue, court records state. Evidence and witnesses suggest Wilkinson was speeding and never hit the brakes before the collision, says the police probable-cause statement.

The Buick's driver -- not named in the records -- died after the impact, which crushed the car's rear end. Wilkinson's passenger had minor injuries.

Cops noticed Wilkinson appeared drunk and drew a blood sample: He had a .227 blood alcohol reading, police say.

Wilkinson gave cops a bogus name at first, but he was identified from his fingerprints. The Target employee lives with his mother in Phoenix. Police want him charged with manslaughter and aggravated assault.




Just as we were finishing writing this post, we received the following news release from Phoenix police detailing another fatal collision at the same intersection this morning:

There was a fatal collision just after 9:30A.M. this morning at 51st Avenue and Cactus Road.

All the following information is from Phoenix Police Department Vehicular Crimes Unit investigators:

A gray 2005 Kia van driven by 57 year old Ronald Denton Grotjan was south bound in the curb lane on 51st Avenue, failed to stop for the red light, and collided with the 1998 white Honda Civic driven by a 69 year old woman that was east bound on Cactus Road on a green light.

The front seat passenger in the Honda Civic, 83 year old Frances Eggen, was taken to a hospital but, tragically, died.

Grotjan was impaired (investigators believe on drugs) and tried fleeing the scene. His vehicle quit running once and he got it started and drove off again but it quit once more. Witnesses stopped him and kept him at the scene south of the accident until officers arrived.

After an investigation at the scene, investigators had Grotjan booked into jail for manslaughter, endangerment, and leaving the scene of the collision.

We'll update this post with Grotjan's picture once it's released by the Sheriff's Office.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.