The Arizona Department of Public Safety, the agency in charge of investigating a total of four recent cases involving deaths in Santa Cruz County, said on Tuesday that there have not been any major developments in any of the cases.
The investigation into the death of Nogales Police Officer Jeremy Brinton, who was struck by a vehicle on May 20 while conducting traffic control on Interstate 19 near Exit 4, is still an ongoing effort, said DPS spokesman Bart Graves.
The still-open investigation means that authorities have not yet made a decision on whether to present any criminal charges against the driver.
The death of truck driver Glen Ray Cockrum, Jr., a 39-year-old man who was fatally shot by officers from the Nogales Police Department and Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office after he led authorities on a vehicle pursuit along I-19 and into Nogales on May 24, is still an open investigation as well.
DPS is also in charge of investigating two deaths on Interstate 19, both of which date to May 28.
In one case, a shuttle passenger van driving south on I-19 near Tubac pulled off to the side of the road with a flat tire. As the driver and two passengers tried to fix the tire, a white SUV side-swiped the three individuals.
Rodolfo Valenzuela, 19, of Tucson, was killed at the scene. The shuttle driver and the second passenger were injured and taken to a Tucson-area hospital for treatment.
At the time, authorities said the suspected hit-and-run vehicle was a 2018 white Ford SUV, but were unable to provide an exact model. On July 2, DPS announced on its social media that the suspected vehicle is a 2013-2019 white Ford Escape, likely equipped with a high-level trim package.
The DPS Facebook post added that the hit-and-run vehicle had lost its front passenger-side mirror in the collision, and had likely sustained damage on the front passenger fender and side.
In the second case involving a death on I-19 on May 28, authorities found the body of an unidentified teenage girl after responding to a call of a female body on the side of the northbound lanes, just south of the Border Patrol checkpoint.
Graves told the NI at the time that authorities suspected the girl had also been victim of a hit-and-run collision as she was crossing the interstate from the median to the right shoulder, though there had not been any witnesses to confirm the circumstances.
The body was described as possibly a 17-year-old girl who was 5 feet, 2 inches tall and had dark skin, brown eyes and black hair. She was wearing black leggings, black jeans, and black-and-gray long sleeve T-shirt, and gray tennis shoes.
On Tuesday, Graves said he wasn’t aware of any developments in either of the hit-an-run collisions, but was not able to provide an official update on either one of the cases in time for the NI’s press deadline on Thursday.