- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 13, 2014

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) - Authorities have yet to confirm whether a wrong-way driver who died after crashing into and killing an off-duty Mesa police officer was impaired, but his family members said Tuesday he had been drinking hours before the crash.

The Maricopa County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the wrong-way driver as Raul Silva Corona, 42, of Phoenix. Authorities were still waiting for the results of toxicology tests to determine if he was impaired at the time of the crash.

Corona’s two sons told KTVK-TV (https://bit.ly/1gBBPOn ) that the family had spent part of Sunday together and they tried to stop their father from driving drunk that day by taking his keys.

They said he grabbed a spare set and left. That was several hours before the crash.

The family said two police officers stopped by their apartment Monday to explain what happened.

Corona, who worked as a ranch hand and landscaper, collided with Mesa Police Officer Brandon Mendoza after driving 35 miles in the wrong direction on three freeways early Monday morning.

Corona’s driving prompted more than 30 911 calls in the course of a half-hour. At one point, a police officer tried to ram Corona’s SUV, but the vehicle swerved and continued on.

Authorities say Mendoza, a 13-year veteran of the force, was on his way home from work when he was killed.

A candlelight vigil for Mendoza was being held Tuesday night at police headquarters in Mesa.

Funeral services were planned for Friday morning at All Saints Catholic Church. Mesa police say a procession to Queen of Heaven Cemetery would immediately follow the funeral Mass.


Information from: KTVK-TV, https://www.azfamily.com/

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