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Police identify man who died in east side car wreck

Posted at 4:55 PM, Apr 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-24 19:55:33-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — The Tucson Police Department is investigating a deadly crash that happened near the east side Thursday night.

Police say officers were called to the area of East Irvington Road and South Kolb Road around 8:30 p.m. for a report of a serious-injury crash.

Upon arrival officers found a single-vehicle engulfed in flames just east of the intersection.

Police say the driver 56-year-old Robert Helseth was still inside the vehicle.

Tucson Fire Department crews were able to extinguish the fire.

Police say Helseth was pronounced dead on the scene. Next of kin was notified.

Detectives determined Helseth was traveling westbound on Irvington Road at a high rate of speed. As he approached Kolb Road, Helseth's vehicle a 2005 Jeep Wrangler went across the eastbound lanes and hit a sloped concrete barrier that separates the roadway from a wash, which travels underneath Irvington.

Police say Helseth was traveling at a high enough speed that when he hit the concrete barrier that caused his vehicle to become airborne and jump over the wash. After the vehicle landed it started to roll striking a power pole on the south east corner Irvington and Kolb.

The vehicle immediately caught fire and Helseth was unable to exit, according to TPD.

Roadway evidence shows excessive speed appeared to be a factor in the crash.

It is unknown is Helseth died from his injuries during the wreck or from the fire.

An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death.

No other vehicles were involved in the crash.