A Maricopa man is facing multiple charges after his arrest on suspicion of fleeing the scene of a fatal crash Sunday morning and attempting to conceal the bodies of two people who were killed, officials said.
Maricopa resident Thomas Sikes, 21,is suspected of driving a car before it crashed on the eastbound Interstate 10 off-ramp to State Route 143 in Phoenix, according to the Arizona Department of Public Safety. The crash ejected two of his passengers who were killed, while a third person was injured, DPS said.
A trooper responded to the crash about 1:30 a.m., arriving to find a heavily damaged 2015 Nissan passenger vehicle, with no people in or around it, the DPS said.
“After a walk-through of the area, the trooper was unable to locate the driver of the vehicle, or victims from the crash,” a DPS news release said.
However, one witness described seeing a man walk away from the vehicle. Law enforcement later received a call requesting a welfare check on two bodies located in bushes about 50 feet away from the crash scene, DPS said.
“The family of one of the victims had tracked a cellular phone signal to the location. Two men were found deceased and it appeared they had been concealed with foliage,” DPS said.
The story further developed when, late Sunday night, the surviving passenger called the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office to report that he was a passenger in the crash and fled the scene with the driver, Maricopa County court documents said.
Bryon Carrillo, 21, of Maricopa, said he was “in fear for his and his family’s life due to receiving death threats from the family of the deceased males,” DPS said.
Carrillo told law-enforcement officials that he and his friends had been drinking at a Tempe bar and were headed home to Maricopa at the time of the crash. Carrillo was knocked out as a result of the crash, officials said.
“When (Carrillo) woke up, Sikes was getting out of the driver seat and his two other friends were not in the back seat of the vehicle,” court records said.
According to the court records, Carrillo looked for his two missing friends but could not find them. He also told law-enforcement officials that Sikes encouraged him to flee the scene to a nearby gas station, where the men were picked up by Sikes’ girlfriend, Adriana Colin-Lemus, 25, of Peoria.
Colin-Lemus told law-enforcement officials that the men appeared “heavily intoxicated” and “extremely emotional” when she picked them up. She also described Sikes as “having scrapes” and being “covered in blood,” court records said.
Officials said no one from the group alerted authorities about the crash or the two missing friends.
Authorities identified the two people killed in the crash as 21-year-old Johnnie Verdoza of Maricopa and Carlos E. Monteverde Garcia, 25, of Sonora, Mexico.
Sikes was arrested in Peoria on Monday. Officials are seeking to charge him with two counts of manslaughter and one count of endangerment, according to court records.
Court records say Sikes is being held in a Maricopa County jail with bond set at $500,000. He is next due in court on Aug 28.
Carrillo was arrested on a charge of obstruction of a criminal investigation, DPS said, while Colin-Lemus was arrested on a count of hindering prosecution.
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