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Updated Aug 21, 2014 - 10:35 am

Woman dies in Phoenix car wreck, 2 people injured

PHOENIX -- One woman is dead and two people are in the hospital after a car accident early Thursday morning.

A car raced through a stop sign in the southwest Valley, and slammed into a minivan, killing passenger Elizabeth Valenzuela, 44, and injuring her husband, driver Manuel Valenzuela, 56.

The fatal accident happened near 51st Avenue and Estrella Drive around 2 a.m.

Authorities said Michael Cherney, 55, driving a sedan, ran through a stop sign and hit the van. His car was going 50-60 mph. The force of the impact ejected Elizabeth Valenzuela. The airborne van then landed on her. Manuel Valenzuela was taken to a hospital in critical condition.

Cherney's blood-alcohol content was .20.

The street has been closed for the investigation.

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About the Author


Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.

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