DPS: 2 dead in SUV rollover on Loop 101 at US 60 - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

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DPS: 2 dead in SUV rollover on Loop 101 at US 60

Posted: Updated: Jan 20, 2013 07:00 PM MST
Rollover crash at Loop 101 and US 60 Rollover crash at Loop 101 and US 60
Elena Stephenson, 15, was killed in the crash Elena Stephenson, 15, was killed in the crash
Dina Stephenson, Elena's mom was wearing a seatbelt and survived the wreck. Dina Stephenson, Elena's mom was wearing a seatbelt and survived the wreck.
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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

Two people were killed after an SUV blew a tire on a major Valley freeway and rolled over Sunday afternoon, the Arizona Department of Public Safety said.

The accident happened on southbound State Route 101 to the U.S. 60 ramp at about 4:45 p.m.

One of the fatalities was the 60-year-old driver, John Gamerao, who was trapped in the vehicle and had to be cut free, officers said. He died at the scene.

A 15-year-old female passenger, Elena Stephenson, died at the hospital.

The vehicle's three other occupants - a 15-year-old female, a 19-year-old male and a 41-year-old woman - were transported to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Everyone but the driver were thrown from the SUV, which rolled 3 1/2 times, DPS officers said. 

At least four of the occupants were not wearing a seatbelt, according to officers. DPS is still trying to determine what caused the tire blowout.

"We remind people almost seasonally to check the pressure in your tires and make sure it's what the manufacturer says," explained DPS Officer Carrick Cook. 

"Make sure the tread is sufficient and if you can make sure you have four of all the same style type tires on your vehicle," he continued.

Wednesday, CBS 5 spoke exclusively with the family of Elena.

"She was so happy," said Elena's brother, Juan Stephenson, who was not in the SUV, but rushed to the hospital when he heard the news.

"She wanted her sweet sixteen. She was making plans already," he continued.

Juan Stephenson said the family is now planning his sister's funeral instead of her sweet 16 birthday.

The family has set up an account at Wells Fargo to help pay for Elena's funeral. To get more information, contact the bank and reference "Moritza Stephenson's" account.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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