Scott Saffell, Tempe Police Officer, Dies on Personal Motorcycle After Ahwatukee Collision

Tempe police officer Scott Saffell, 40, died yesterday afternoon in Ahwatukee after his personal motorcycle collided with a car that made a left-hand turn in front of him.

This is one reason riding a motorcycle is risky: Other drivers. And the "car-makes-left-turn" collision is one of the most feared by riders.

Phoenix police Sergeant Steve Martos tells us that police aren't sure why the 24-year-old driver of the Chrysler sedan didn't yield to Saffell, who had been riding southbound on 48th Street when she attempted to make a left turn near Elliot Road. By all appearances, he says, it looks like a tragic accident.

The woman's name isn't being released at this time, Martos says. She doesn't seem to have been impaired on drugs or alcohol, and Saffell wasn't speeding.

"Her claim is she simply didn't see him," he says.

Saffell had been wearing a leather jacket and helmet. Paramedics rushed him to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Police are still reviewing the case, but police could end up seeking an "enhanced" failure-to-yield criminal traffic charge because the victim died, Martos says.

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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.