Meghan Finnerty reports from the scene of a collision that killed two people and injured two others May 1, 2017, on Interstate 17 in north Phoenix.
Meghan Finnerty/The Republic

The driver of a minivan that struck and killed two people and hurt two others on Interstate 17 in Phoenix was issued a civil traffic citation but has not been criminally charged, according to the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

At this point in the investigation, there is no evidence to support criminal prosecution, said Trooper Kameron Lee, a DPS spokesman.

Brian Higbee, 34, of Phoenix, was cited for failing to control his vehicle to avoid a collision, Lee said. Killed in the crash early Monday were 38-year-old Johnny Youngblood, of Phoenix, and 53-year-old Beverly Click, of Sun City.

“There will be those that will say he should be arrested and charged with a crime. Right now, in this stage of the investigation we do not have those elements,” Lee said by email. “The investigation will be reviewed by detectives to see if further charges can be recommended. This was a horrible scenario all around and a series of unfortunate events came together all at once.”

MORE: 2 dead, 2 hurt in crash involving motorcycle on I-17

Youngblood initially crashed his motorcycle between the right two lanes of southbound I-17 just after 5 a.m., and Click was one of several people who had stopped to help him.

Meanwhile, a minivan that was driving through the crash scene near Yorkshire Drive plowed into the group, killing Youngblood and Click, and injuring two other men, according to DPS.

Troopers ruled out impairment but were looking into whether Higbee was distracted or drowsy at the time of the crash, the DPS said.

Lee said Higbee received a citation for violating the state statue on reasonable and prudent speed. ARS 28-701A says a person “shall not drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the circumstances, conditions and actual and potential hazards then existing. A person shall control the speed of a vehicle as necessary to avoid colliding with any object, person, vehicle or other conveyance on, entering or adjacent to the highway in compliance with legal requirements and the duty of all persons to exercise reasonable care for the protection of others.”

DPS issued a statement Tuesday afternoon saying, “Our hearts go out the families of all of those involved, the two who were killed, the two who were injured, the one who witnessed it all first hand and the driver that hit the four bystanders.”


Do you know what to do if you’re in an accident?


Read or Share this story: