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CJ and Nolan Smith Update - 01/13/2009

Bank account aids Mesa family who lost sons

UPDATE JANUARY 13 from East Valley Tribune (eastvalleytribune.com):

A bank account to help the family of two young brothers killed in a car crash Friday night has been set up to accept donations at Wells Fargo Bank.

Officials: Alcohol played a role in deadly crash

Authorities have determined that alcohol and speed were factors in a collision that killed the two boys of Frank and Traci Smith of Mesa.

The account, the Traci and Frank Smith Account (No. 2733099838), has been set up at Wells Fargo branches throughout the East Valley, a bank spokeswoman confirmed Tuesday. Investigators said they were able to find the two Mesa teens who were in the pickup at fault in the collision. A lack of witnesses has led investigators to try to determine who was behind the wheel using DNA analysis, according to Lindsey Smith, of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office. A white Saturn was preparing to turn left about 10 p.m. Friday from Sossaman Road onto Elliot Road after halting at a four-way stop sign when a 1985 pickup truck blew through the stop and hit the driver's side of the Saturn, according to Detective Aaron Douglas of the Sheriff's Office.

The truck then careened off and hit a motorcycle traveling eastbound on Elliot, Douglas said.

The two Mesa children in the Saturn, Nolan Smith, 6, and his brother, Frank Smith, 11, were dead at the scene. The brothers died of blunt force trauma from injuries, according to the Maricopa County Medical Examiner's Office.

Traci Smith, the driver, was flown to Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn hospital in critical condition, and her husband, Frank Smith, was flown to Maricopa Medical Center in Phoenix with nonlife-threatening injuries. Another passenger, Mary Gutierrez, was also flown to Maricopa Medical Center.

Updated conditions were not available.

The two occupants of the pickup, 18-year-old Travis Cuevas and a 17-year-old, fled the scene but were later detained, Douglas said. Both teens are Mesa residents.

The Tribune is not naming the 17-year-old because he is a minor. Both teens claimed the other was driving the pickup.

The driver faces charges of leaving the scene of a fatal accident.

"You can't charge the passenger of leaving the scene, only the driver," Douglas said.

Charges are expected to come soon.

The motorcycle driver, 39-year-old Brian Tanner, was taken to a hospital by friends with nonlife-threatening injuries.

Authorities will release more information on the crash when it is determined who was driving the pickup truck and when an arrest is made, the Sheriff's Office said.

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