Charges in death of 4 riders in Phoenix

Driver allegedly on meth during crash

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Apr. 07, 2010
Phoenix police allege the truck driver who drove into a group of motorcyclists, killing four, was under the influence of methamphetamine.

According to the Phoenix Police Department, toxicology tests on driver Michael Jakscht, 46, show he had methamphetamine in his system when he drove his sanitation truck into a group of riders stopped at a red light on March 25.

Toxicology tests typically take weeks to complete but the Arizona Republic reports police made the test results a priority.

“In this case, to get the result, so he doesn't drive more or drive impaired, it was the department's decision to make it a priority,” Phoenix police Sgt. Trent Crump told the Arizona Republic.

Jakscht was arrested and booked on four counts of manslaughter, five counts of aggravated assault and seven counts of endangerment. Jakscht may also face a charge of impaired driving. A million dollar bond has been set for Jakscht.

Michael Jakscht, seen in this police mug shot, faces multiple charges.“We commend the Phoenix Police Department for its diligence in pursuing this case, and for getting the initial toxicology results as quickly as possible,” says Ed Moreland, AMA vice president for government relations.

Riders Daniel Butler, 35, Dayle Veronica Downs-Totonchi, 47, Clyde Nachand, 67, and Stephen Punch, 52 were killed in the crash. Another five motorcyclists were injured including Ernie Lizarraga, 52 and a Phoenix Fire Captain, who remains in hospital.

“We again express our condolences on behalf of the AMA and its members to the families of those killed, and hope for a full recovery for those injured,” says Moreland. “We will continue to watch this case closely.”