PHOENIX — A Phoenix Police Department officer was one of two people killed when a driver ran a red light Monday night in north Phoenix.
A police spokesperson said the crash happened around 10:30 p.m. Monday near Cave Creek Road and Greenway Parkway.
Witnesses reportedly saw an eastbound vehicle running a red light while the police cruiser was going southbound through the intersection on a green light.
The driver of the eastbound vehicle, 31-year old Christopher Castro, was pronounced dead at the scene.
#Phoenix PD is mourning the loss of one of their own after they say a driver blew through a red light, killing an officer. I've looked into this issue before with #OperationSafeRoads. @AAA_Arizona had ranked our state the worst in the nation for red-light deaths in 2019. #abc15 pic.twitter.com/Wcq5gkpPXG— Megan Thompson (@MeganABC15) June 1, 2021
The officer had to be extricated from his vehicle before he was taken to the hospital where he died.
Video from the scene showed extensive damage to the vehicles involved and debris scattered along the roadway.
Police say speed and impairment are believed to be contributing factors in the crash.
A procession was held early Tuesday morning as fellow officers escorted the fallen officer from the hospital to the medical examiner's office in downtown Phoenix.
Police said the officer who was killed, identified as Ginarro New, was 27 years old. He leaves behind a wife, mother, brother, and grandmother, Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said early Tuesday morning.
Officer New had been with the department since July 2019 and had recently started his shift when the crash occurred.
'TERRIBLE LOSS' FOR DEPARTMENT
This sums up the heartache our Phoenix Police officers are feeling after they lose one of their own. Investigators say 27-year-old Officer Ginnaro New died when a driver ran a red light and crashed into him. Please keep this department in your thoughts. pic.twitter.com/asnH3nStMT— Nick Ciletti (@NickCiletti) June 1, 2021
Chief Williams expressed gratitude for the doctors and emergency crews who tirelessly tried to save New's life.
Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego also released the following statement: "On behalf of the City of Phoenix, we thank Officer New for his service and commitment to keeping us safe. We hold his family in our hearts, and will keep his memory in our minds. I invite our community to thank his Phoenix Police colleagues who face these kinds of dangers daily. Our thoughts are with them today, as are our condolences for this terrible loss. Deep gratitude also goes to the Phoenix Fire Department and Honor Health for their heroic efforts to save Officer New’s life."
Governor Doug Ducey ordered state flags to be flown at half-staff for the day in honor of Officer New.
HOW TO HELP
The 100 Club of Arizona, the Phoenix Police Foundation and the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association (PLEA) have set up fundraisers to help the officer's family.
We want to thank Officer New for his unwavering support to his community.— Phoenix Police (@PhoenixPolice) June 1, 2021
Many of you have asked how you can help support Officer New’s family. The Phoenix Police Foundation is accepting donations, & 100% goes to the officer’s family. To learn more, visit https://t.co/Qfnk7jk9bY pic.twitter.com/vADP25ihZj
If you would like to help, you can donate online or by calling 602-485-0100.
There is also a BBQ scheduled for Thursday, June 3 from 10 a.m. - 10p.m.
DEADLY ROADWAYS FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT
The deadly crash involving Officer New was not the first traffic incident to claim the life of an Arizona officer this year.
Just over a month ago, another Valley officer was killed by a suspect during a police pursuit. That officer, Christopher Farrar, was with the Chandler Police Department.
In January, Arizona State University Police Officer Joseph Montgomery was killed in a single-vehicle crash in Tempe.