DUI suspect arrested in fatal Laveen crash in August
Michael Cherney was arrested by MCSO deputies Sept. 18 and booked into the 4th Avenue Jail on charges of manslaughter, aggravated assault and possession of marijuana and paraphernalia. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
A woman riding in the minivan was killed and her husband seriously injured in this two-vehicle crash on Aug. 21. (Source: CBS 5 News)
Witnesses told police the driver of this car was going about 60 mph when it blew through a stop sign and struck a minivan. (Source: CBS 5 News)
The woman riding in the van was killed after she was ejected and the van landed on top of her. (Source: CBS 5 News)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -
The suspected drunk driver who T-boned a minivan in Laveen in August killing a woman and seriously injuring her husband was arrested and charged Thursday.
Michael Cherney, 55, was driving westbound on Estrella Parkway when his car ran through a stop sign and struck the passenger side of the minivan near a popular casino on Aug. 21, a Maricopa County Sheriff's Office spokesman said.
Elizabeth Valenzuela, 44, a passenger in the minivan, was ejected. The impact pushed the minivan onto two wheels before it came down on and killed Valenzuela, the spokesman said.
Her husband, Manuel Valenzuela, 56, was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries and was in critical condition.
Cherney, whose blood-alcohol content registered 0.217 percent, was taken to a hospital where he remained until his release Thursday when he was arrested, the spokesman said.
Cherney was arrested by MCSO deputies and booked into the 4th Avenue Jail on charges of manslaughter, aggravated assault and possession of marijuana and paraphernalia.
No one was wearing a seat belt, the spokesman said.
Deputies said they found a half-empty bottle of tequila and a sales receipt that showed it had been purchased about nine hours before the crash. Deputies also found a plastic bag containing marijuana and a glass smoking pipe.
Witnesses told police that the car was going about 60 mph when it ran through the stop sign, Phoenix police Lt. Darius Potts said.
"It was a direct hit," he said.
Potts said he wasn't sure if anyone was wearing a seat belt or whether impairment was a factor.
"We haven't found anything yet to know why it happened," Potts said.
Deputies closed 51st Avenue, the main road to the Vee Quiva Hotel and Casino, between Dobbins Road and Estrella Parkway. There was no estimate as to when the road would reopen.
Phoenix police handed the investigation over to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.
No other information was available.
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