Tucson’s 18th pedestrian fatality

City is now up to 21 deaths involving distracted drivers and jaywalkers

By STEPHEN MOORE

Technically, Tucson’s 18th pedestrian fatality did not involve a pedestrian.

A man and woman were waiting for a bus about 10:45 a.m. Sept. 20 on Pima Street east of Alvernon Way. A gray 2011 Nissan Titan was traveling southbound on Alvernon when police said the driver made a left turn at a high rate of speed on to Pima and lost control, hitting the bench at the bus stop.

The victims were transported to Banner University Medical Center with serious injuries, police said. Shortly after, the male victim died from his injuries, police said.

The driver, who police said witnesses described as a black male age 20 to 30 with long dreadlocks, exited the driver’s door. Without checking on the victims, he ran east on Pima and then south on North Sycamore Boulevard, according to Sgt. Michael Dietsch, who is in charge of the investigation.

Dietsch said he did not know why the vehicle was traveling so fast. He said it was not being chased by police.

Because of the collision, Pima was closed from about 10:30 a.m. until about 4 p.m. Sept. 20.

“We’ve only got one shot to get it right,” said Dietsch when asked why the street was closed for so long. “After that, the evidence is gone.”

To avoid contamination and limit the time Pima was closed, the inside of the truck was not examined at the scene, police said.

After a several hour man-hunt, Ruben Aulbert Lemon was taken into custody and charged with leaving the scene of a hit-and-run.

Dietsch said the vehicle was towed to a garage, which serves as an evidence locker. Two police officers accompanied the tow truck to the evidence locker to maintain the chain of custody.

The vehicle will not be processed until a search warrant is obtained, Dietsch said.

Surveying equipment that uses GPS technology will assist in mapping the scene. Investigators will superimpose the skid marks and other evidence onto a map that will be accurate within millimeters, according to Dietsch.

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