Felix Cardoza

A Gofundme account has been established to help with funeral expenses for Felix Cardoza, 18. The Department of Public Safety said he was racing another car on SR 51 when he wrecked his car and died.  

Within a week, the West Valley was hit with two fatal accidents involving local 18-year-olds.

Early evening of Feb. 14, Aaron Marcoux, 18, was allegedly driving near 100 mph when his car wrecked into another at Dysart Road and Missouri Avenue. After the death of Ryan Charley, 36, the driver of the other vehicle. Marcoux, of Litchfield Park, was charged with manslaughter. He faced a preliminary hearing this week.

Four nights later, another 18-year-old, Felix Cardoza, was reportedly racing another vehicle on State Route 51 near Shea Boulevard. 

Cardoza’s Audi went off the right side of the highway and collided with a retaining wall, according to Bart Graves, spokesman for the Department of Public Safety.

Cardoza, who lived in Buckeye, was declared deceased at the scene of the wreck.

“The driver and passenger of the second vehicle were located by troopers, with the assistance of witnesses, on the northbound off-ramp for Shea Boulevard,” Graves said.

When asked if the driver allegedly racing Cardoza was arrested, Bart Graves of DPS responded, “The investigation is continuing. It’s all I am able to say at this point.”

Among the many disturbed the Cardoza’s death was Sen. Paul Boyer, the District 20 state representative.

“This young man would be alive today if not for street racing,” said Boyer.

“Street racing is not only dangerous for the general public and spectators but for the racers themselves. 

Earlier this month, Boyer sponsored  SB 1659, which outlines stricter penalties for street racing, including impoundment and a $1,000 fine. This bill also proposes the creation of the Drag Racing Prevention Enforcement Fund, which will provide additional resources to local law enforcement agencies.

 “I’m currently working on a Rules Committee amendment as I had a disagreement with the Rules attorney on the constitutionality of what I’m proposing,” Boyer said last Thursday. “He cited two recent 9th Circuit cases I don’t believe the facts are comparable but the Senate President (Karen Fann)  asked me to work with (the attorney). So instead of a 30-day impoundment, I’ve conceded to a two-day impoundment to get the bill out of Rules and hopefully onto the floor.”

Though Marcoux is not alleged to have been racing, he allegedly was at far higher than freeway speeds when he allegedly caused the death of Charley, also of Litchfield Park.

“One of the two passengers of the car stated they were traveling ‘100ish’ just before they crashed,” according to a Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office press release. “(Marcoux)  admitted to driving at least

70 mph in the area where the posted speed limit is 45 mph.”

According to court documents charging Marcoux with manslaughter, “The state further alleges this offense charged in the count is a dangerous felony because the offense involved the discharge, use, or threatening exhibit of a motor vehicle, a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument and/or the intentional or knowing infliction of serious injury upon Ryan J. Charley.”

Marcoux also faces aggravated assault charges for injuring his passengers and endangerment.

After an initial court appearance Feb. 15, he had a preliminary hearing scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 25.

A service was held for Ryan Charley Saturday, Feb. 22, at Christ Evangelical Lutheran in Goodyear. According to his obituary, “With a broad smile, a kind word, and a great sense of humor, Ryan brightened the lives of everyone he met. He was a talented photographer and was passionate about music. A lover of animals, he adored hiking with his dog Emory.”

“He had to earn the love of his family’s cat, Kiddo, but once earned they both protected each other. He loved his family and friends freely and without judgment and always encouraged them to be their best selves. Ryan received an associate’s degree from Estrella Mountain Community College. He was employed by Air Comm Telecommunications as their logistics manager.”