Phoenix, AZ – An unsuspecting woman inadvertently shielded two pedestrians pushing a stroller from being struck by a drunk driver who blew through a red light (video below).
The near-fatal collision occurred on Oct. 14, as 27-year-old Shannon Vivar was driving through the intersection of 53rd Avenue and Indian School Road, KPHO reported.
Her mother, Shirley Vivar was riding the passenger seat, and her three-year-old son was riding in the backseat.
Shirley suddenly began screaming that a Jeep was barreling straight towards them.
"I don't quite remember if I sped up or pushed the brake," Shannon told reporters on Thursday, according to KPHO. "It was kind of like a quick thing."
A nearby camera showed a couple as they started crossing the street while pushing a stroller.
Just as Shannon’s vehicle started to pass by them, the speeding Jeep blew through the stoplight. A fraction of a second later, it collided with Shannon’s vehicle, the video showed.
The force of the crash spun Shannon’s car 180 degrees, but also protected the pedestrians who the Jeep driver undoubtedly would have hit if Shannon’s vehicle hadn’t passed by at the last possible moment.
Shirley, Shannon, and Shannon’s little boy were uninjured in the collision, KPHO reported.
"In this case, when you look at the video, it's nothing short of a miracle that the family the [Jeep] Renegade was barreling towards didn't get struck,” Phoenix Police Sergeant Tommy Thompson told the news outlet. “They could have suffered injuries that were certainly serious if not life-threatening.”
“I was just happy that we were all alive and good,” Shannon said. “It’s a blessing we were there. Wrong place at the wrong time, but then it’s the right place at the right time.”
The driver of the Jeep, later identified as 28-year-old Ernesto Otanez Oveso, immediately fled the scene on foot after the crash, KPHO reported.
A witness followed Oveso in his vehicle, but when the suspect realized what he was doing, he pulled a knife on him and slashed at him through the window of the witness’s car, police said.
The witness stomped on the accelerator, just as Oveso stabbed the blade into the car door, leaving a hole.
Police ultimately apprehended Oveso, who was “stuffing the knife in his right front pocket” when officers first spotted him, KPHO reported.
Investigators also found a gun inside the suspect’s crashed Jeep.
Oveso’s unidentified female passenger fled the scene on foot, and has not been apprehended.
The suspect has been charged with driving under the influence, possession of a weapon by a prohibited person, and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, KLTV reported.
He also had four warrants out for his arrest at the time of the crash, police said.
You can watch footage of the collision in the video below: