Originally Published: December 11, 2008 11:26 a.m.
Prescott Valley resident Ronald E. Pogoda, 69, died Wednesday in a collision with a pickup whose driver was fleeing Prescott Valley police.
The driver of the fleeing Dodge Dakota pick-up, Josiah David Fawcett, 23, also of Prescott Valley, plowed into the passenger side of Pogoda's SUV after disregarding a red light at the intersection of Fain and Robert roads and State Route 89A, said Cmdr. Laura Molinaro of the Prescott Valley Police Department in a press release Thursday morning.
Prior to the collision, Molinaro said, a Prescott Valley police officer saw Fawcett speeding and driving recklessly on Mission Drive and chased him, trying to make a traffic stop after they turned onto Robert Road.
Instead of stopping, Fawcett "accelerated to a higher rate of speed," the press release said.
When the officer told police dispatchers that Fawcett would not stop, a sergeant on duty told the officer to stop the pursuit, according to department policy, Molinaro said.
Fawcett continued to flee and the officer continued to follow him at a slower speed. The accident happened about a half mile further down the road, Molinaro said.
Witnesses at the scene told the officer what happened and helicopters flew both Fawcett and Pogoda to Phoenix hospitals, where Pogoda later died.
After the hospital treated Fawcett, Department of Public Safety arrested him on charges of second-degree vehicular homicide, Molinaro said. Additional charges are pending, she added.
The SUV that Pogoda was driving is registered to Orme School in Dewey.
Pogoda was a bus driver for Orme School, an independent school five miles north of Cordes Junction, said Alyce Brownridge, head of school.
She said the school has made a staff counselor available to help any of the school's 150 students who are grieving.
"Ron was a wonderful, delightful man," she added. "The community was very attached to him. He is going to be very much missed."