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UAPD reports: alcohol may have affected car crash

By Liz Dailey
Arizona Daily Wildcat
March 30, 1999
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Alcohol may have factored into a Friday night car crash that killed a Tucson man fleeing a university police officer, UAPD reports indicated yesterday.

University of Arizona Police Department reports stated that "an open 12-pack of Bud Light" was found in Samuel I. Morales' Ford Mustang - the car he drove while evading a UAPD officer.

Morales, 20, crashed his car into a 1997 Pontiac minivan at 11:33 p.m. Friday, ending a chase that two-year UAPD Officer Jason Kingman started after watching the suspect run a red light.

Morales was transported by paramedics from the intersection of North Tucson Boulevard and East Eighth Street and later pronounced dead at University Medical Center.

A passenger in the Mustang, Lester L. Rapp, 19, was taken to University Medical Center and was reported to be in fair condition as of yesterday.

The minivan passengers, Steven Schelble, 35, Patti Schelble, 29, Jennifer Fontes, 21 and Jose Soto, 23, sustained minor injuries, police said.

Morales's aunt, Luisa Miller, said yesterday that her family is dealing with their loss and "getting by."

"It's hard to loose someone you love, especially that age and the way it happened," she said.

Miller refused comment on whether she believed her nephew was intoxicated at the time of the collision. The Pima County Medical Examiner will perform an autopsy and toxicology test on Morales's body.

Kingman, who was not injured during the collision, was waiting at a red light at the intersection of East Sixth Street and North Campbell Avenue when Morales sped through the light, reports stated.

Kingman stated in the report that he heard skidding tires and saw the Mustang attempt to stop at the red light before continuing through the intersection.

As Kingman pursued Morales on East Eighth Street, he "saw a shiny object fly out the passenger's window of the vehicle." Police later discovered that the object was a broken bottle of Bud Light, reports stated.

In the police report, Kingman stated Morales drove "approximately 50 mph or higher" on Eighth, where the speed limit is 25 mph.

As the Mustang approached Tucson Boulevard, Kingman said he "saw the brake lights flash for approximately half-a-second" before Morales drove into the intersection of Eighth and Tucson, colliding with the minivan.

Reports indicated that there was extensive damage to the front of the van, while the Mustang had "total body damage."

UA astronomy professor Raymond White, who lives on East Eighth Street, was working at his home when the crash occurred.

"I heard a screech and picked up the phone and dialed 911," White said.

Morales's vehicle ended up in White's front yard after the crash, damaging a part of his wall and some cacti.