Three years after Pine Creek High School graduate Taylor White was killed in a hit-and-run crash, his family may finally have answers.
White, 21, was jogging with a friend near the Grand Canyon University campus in Phoenix, Ariz. when he was fatally struck on a crosswalk by a white SUV that ran a red light, police said. Initial surveillance video helped police identify and locate the vehicle after it fled the scene, but did not immediately lead authorities to the suspected driver.
Authorities announced Thursday, on the three-year anniversary of White’s death, that they arrested a man in connection with the killing.
According to police, 29-year-old Adrian Favela was arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of second-degree murder, conspiracy and other crimes. Police allege Fevela was driving the SUV that struck White. Barringtina Mathis, 29, was also arrested on suspicion of arson, conspiracy, obstructing an investigation and other crimes.
After the crash, Mathis reported her vehicle was stolen, and found burned later that evening, police said. Charges were recommended against a suspect, said Phoenix police spokesman Vince Lewis, but the county attorney did not file the charges.
“God orchestrated justice coming full circle today on the three-year anniversary of losing Taylor,” Taylor’s mother, Angela said in a press conference Thursday. “We are so grateful. This is every parent’s worst nightmare, and for three years, knowing who was responsible for this, and not being able to move forward with justice, we are so grateful to the Pheonix PD for their ongoing work.”
Police Lt. Leif Myers said new technological advancements and newly available witness testimony allowed police to make the arrests.
Myers didn’t elaborate on the technological advancements but police probable-cause statements said Favela told a neighbor after Favela and Mathis arrived home in the damaged SUV that he’d hit somebody.
“We will never get Taylor back. This will never change that. It won’t bring closure, but it will bring justice, and justice goes a long way,” said Taylor’s father Nate.
White, a 2015 Pine Creek graduate, was an accomplished high school wrestler. He placed second at the 2015 state wrestling championships as a heavyweight and was the Gazette Preps 2015 Upper-Weights Wrestling Peak Performer of the Year. He wrestled for one year at Grand Canyon University before the program was dropped.
He was to marry Sarah Tedeschi 20 days after the crash. Angela and Nate White said they called Tedeschi, who is currently in Australia.
“To be able to tell her last night, on April 8 in Australia that Adrian and Tina were in custody, and that process of justice was starting to play out was an answered prayer,” Nate said.
Angela and Nate said they hope to become advocates for other hit-and-run victims.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.