A 65-year-old man was killed after the car he was driving plunged onto Interstate 17 near an overpass just west of downtown Phoenix on Friday, the Arizona Department of Public Safety said.

A passenger in the Chrysler coupe was critically injured and taken to St. Joseph’s hospital in Phoenix, DPS spokesman Raul Garcia said.

Two other people also were injured and hospitalized after three other vehicles that were driving southbound on I-17 crashed, Garcia said.

One of the vehicles struck the Chrysler after it landed on the freeway, Garcia said. Two people in that vehicle were injured, he said. Their conditions were not immediately available.

Two other vehicles then struck the Chrysler, officials said. Nobody in those vehicles was seriously injured, DPS said.

Garcia said the crash happened at about 12:27 p.m., when the driver of the Chrysler was traveling south in an inside left-turn lane on 23rd Avenue, which runs parallel to I-17 near Grant Street, an area where the freeway is below street level.

The driver then decided to keep going straight on 23rd Avenue and attempted to force his way in front of a semitruck that was turning left from the middle lane, which allows vehicles to either turn left or continue straight, Garcia said.  The Chrysler was unable to make it around the truck and instead was forced off the road where 23rd Avenue and the Grant Street overpass cross, plunging over the freeway embankment and onto the southbound freeway below, Garcia said.

Officers were clearing the roadway up for several hours and pieced back together fencing that the car had been plowed through.

No information was available about the semitruck or its driver. Garcia said DPS is looking to contact the driver of the truck.

The crash shut southbound I-17 between Interstate 10 and Grant Street for several hours. The freeway was reopened by 4 p.m.

Read or Share this story: http://azc.cc/2nNHY8h