May 12, 2014 10:11 AM by Associated Press

Wrong-way driver, officer killed in Arizona crash

TEMPE - An off-duty police officer driving home from work and a wrong-way driver are dead after a head-on collision on a Phoenix-area freeway ramp.

The wrong-way driver's SUV had traveled 35 miles on three freeways for a half-hour before the early Monday morning collision and before the crash evaded a state Department of Public Safety officer who tried unsuccessfully to ram the SUV to stop it.

State Department of Public Safety Officer Carrick Cook says no information is available about the wrong-way driver because the body was badly burned in a fire after the wreck.

Mesa Police Chief Frank Milstead identified the dead officer as Brandon Mendoza and said he was an approachable and empathetic officer.

The crash occurred on a ramp connecting the U.S. 60 freeway and Interstate 10.


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