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5 killed in fiery crash after SUV flies off Phoenix freeway

PHOENIX » An SUV careened off a Phoenix freeway overpass, landed on a median and burst into flames, killing a woman and her four young sons, authorities said today.

Arizona Department of Public Safety officials identified the woman as 39-year-old Durjuana Miller of Phoenix, who was the driver. The names of the four boys who died weren’t immediately released, but the DPS said they were ages 8, 6, 3 and 3 months.

The SUV failed to slow enough at the top of an Interstate 10 off-ramp to make a turn about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to the DPS.

“There was skid (mark) on the ground, so the driver tried to slow down but was not able to negotiate that corner,” DPS Capt. Damon Cecil said.

After hitting a barrier, the vehicle flew end over end and then dropped 50 feet down to the freeway’s dirt median, where it landed on its wheels and burst into flames.

“It was fully engulfed,” Cecil said. “None of the occupants were able to get out.”

DPS officials said investigators were trying to determine the cause of the crash. They’re also awaiting the results of toxicology tests on Miller from the Maricopa County Medical Examiner’s Office, which could take up to two weeks.

“Investigators are talking to everybody,” DPS Director Frank Milstead said. “Nobody has said there is anything going on at this point in her life that would make this a realization (that it was intentional). We will let the investigators figure out the facts.”

Milstead said the SUV was traveling at an excessive speed and left skid marks on the freeway along with a large V-shaped hole in the concrete barrier.

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