(Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) Ricardo Castro, of Goodyear, was arrested Monday and booked into jail on seven counts of aggravated assault and two counts of felony endangerment for the Nov. 20 collision.
PHOENIX (CBS5) -
A 35-year-old employee of the Arizona Department of Corrections pleaded not guilty Wednesday in connection with a multi-vehicle crash on Interstate 10 in the west Valley on Nov. 20.
Ricardo Castro, of Goodyear, was arrested by detectives from the Arizona Department of Public Safety on Nov. 26 and booked into the Fourth Avenue Jail on the charges that include seven counts of aggravated assault and two counts of felony endangerment.
Castro is suspected of arguing with family members before driving his Honda Accord up to 100 mph with his wife in the passenger seat and colliding with the back of a GMC Yukon with six people on board about 11 p.m. The crash started a string of events that included a chain-reaction collision between two semitrucks that killed one of the drivers. [READ:Argument leads to string of I-10 crashes]
Castro's mother-in-law and daughter were in the back seat of the Accord until he pulled to the eastbound off-ramp near Miller Road and ordered them out of the car. He sped back onto I-10 before eventually rear-ending the Yukon near Watson Road, according to police.
Five of the six passengers were children and all five were ejected. They were treated at the hospital.
Castro, who has worked at the ADC's Lewis prison since 2001, was booked into jail after his release from the hospital for treatment of injuries he suffered in the crash. Bill Lamorea of the Corrections Department said an internal investigation is under way.
About 45 minutes after the initial collision, three semitrailers and four passenger cars were involved in the chain-reaction crash, DPS said.
A semitrailer carrying furniture crashed into another semi that was stopped in the backup as a result of the previous crash. The collision between the two semis caused them to be pushed into four other cars and another semi, officers said. The semi carrying furniture caught fire immediately after the initial impact, killing the driver.
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