Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Man may have been drinking before crash that killed cop

A Phoenix police officer died Saturday after his patrol car collided with a pickup driven by a man who police believe was drinking shortly before the crash.

Authorities said Officer Shane Figueroa, 25, was responding to a series of shots fired calls about 1:22 a.m. when a white truck turned in front of his patrol car on 19th Avenue near Roeser Road.

The impact spun Figueroa’s vehicle and sent it crashing into a block wall. He was pronounced dead at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center.

A 28-year-old male passenger inside the truck was hospitalized with serious injuries.

The truck’s driver, 50-year-old Jose Rivas Gonzalez, was treated for minor injuries and booked into Fourth Avenue Jail on suspicion of manslaughter and aggravated assault. Police said Gonzalez was also booked on four outstanding warrants but details were not available.

Jerry Sheridan, chief of jail systems for the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, said deputies placed an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement hold on Gonzalez.

During questioning, police say Gonzalez told them he was an illegal immigrant from Mexico.

The crash is under investigation but officials said they believed Gonzalez had been drinking just prior to the crash.

Figueroa, who had served less than three years on the force, is survived by his wife and 3-month-old child. His father is a retired Phoenix police officer.

“This is a tragedy, not just for us,” Phoenix Police Chief Jack Harris said. “We will do everything we possibly can to assist his family.”

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