Update: Drinking, drag racing and a deadly rollover near Gates Pass
KGUN9 asks what can be done to prevent deadly street racing. Video by kgun9.comvideo
Drinking, drag racing and a deadly rollover at Gates Pass over the weekend. Pima County deputies have charged a man in connection with the deadly crash that killed his friend and injured several others. Video by kgun9.comvideo
Reporter: Valerie Cavazos Alexis Fernandez
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Drinking, drag racing and a deadly rollover at Gates Pass over the weekend. Pima County deputies have charged a man in connection with the deadly crash that killed his friend and injured several others.
Deputies said five people were in the car when the driver began to drag race with another vehicle and both went off the road killing 18-year-old Marymar Martinez-Duran.
18-year-old William Pina is in jail facing multiple charges in connection with her death, including manslaughter, endangerment and DUI.
Street racing has been going on practically since the car was invented. But when someone dies as a result of a street race, it once again brings the problem front and center.
In the spur of a moment, a lonely stretch of rural road can become a raceway in the middle of the night. Federal transportation officials say street racing has become more popular -- thanks in part to the movie franchise, Fast and Furious.
Despite continued efforts to catch the culprits, street racing deaths have been on the rise over the past several years and Pima County Sheriff's Deputy Tom Peine says law enforcement officers are often helpless to prevent it.
"Seriously all we can do (is) prevent as much as we can," Peine said. "Ask them to be smart."
Martinez-Duran died early Sunday morning during a race through the narrow winding roads near Gates Pass. Sheriff's deputies said the driver hit speeds - topping 80 miles per hour -- before he lost control of his car.
Hoping to get many of these thrill seekers off the streets, the owners of the Southwest International Dragway opened its tracks -- where drivers can legally race for a fee.
"There's a group of about 300 cars that we know about that we'd love to see out here. but we get a token percentage of that, but hopefully it will grow over a period of time," said Phil Gray.
But Gray knows all too well that the thrill, the adreline rush, is gone when it's legal.
But the thrill can kill -- leaving a trail of sorrow behind. Peine said in most cases, the drivers who walk away from a deadly crash often say that they didn't mean for it to happen.
Friends says Martinez was the life of the party.
"She would make it seem like you were her sister," said Amairany Carreno, one of her friends.
She says Martinez was part of the drag race scene.
"I mean it was kind of our lifestyle, we'd go out and have fun, fast cars, it's kind of how it is," said Paola Ruelas, another one of her friends.
Throughout the day, friends showed up to a memorial created at the crash site to say goodbye.
"It's hard for everybody that was close to her, I mean like the saying goes, parents shouldn't be burying their kids, kids should be burying their parents," said Ruelas.