Ariz. Man Allegedly Yanked Steering Wheel from Girlfriend During Argument, Causing Crash that Killed Girl, 11

Arianna Gannon was ejected from a vehicle when it collided with another car that swerved across the median into oncoming traffic, according to police in El Mirage, Ariz.

Arianna Gannon
Photo: GoFundMe

Authorities have arrested an Arizona man in connection with the death of an 11-year-old girl who was killed in a car wreck on the way to church.

Adrian Ballesteros, 28, has been charged with one count of manslaughter and five counts of endangerment, according to police in El Mirage, Ariz.

It wasn't immediately clear if he entered a plea to the charges.

On the evening of July 6, investigators allege Ballesteros caused the deadly head-on collision that killed Arianna Gannon and injured her two sisters, 14-year-old Angelina and 16-year-old Anneliese. The person driving the girls — fellow church member Maggie Suggs, 53 — was also hurt.

According to a news release, Ballesteros was the passenger in a pickup truck driven by his girlfriend when the pair got into an argument. He then allegedly "pulled on the steering wheel," causing his girlfriend to lose control of the vehicle and swerve across the median into oncoming traffic, police said.

The pickup truck and the car carrying the Gannon sisters collided. Arianna was ejected from the vehicle, according to police.

She was pronounced dead on the scene while her sisters and Suggs were transported to a hospital in stable condition, per the release.

Police said Ballesteros and his girlfriend — who both only had minor injuries, despite their truck flipping — remained at the scene of the accident.

According to KTVK-TV, the Gannon sisters and Suggs had been out for lunch before the crash and were heading back to Life Spring Church with the intention of preparing for vacation Bible school.

Arianna Gannon

Pastor Barry Sappington told the outlet the congregation is still processing the loss.

"It's like we can't wrap our brains around it," said Sappington, according to the station. "How do you account for that loss? And the loss, it was so unnecessary."

He added, "My flesh just wants to cry out. Like not just anger — a moment of such disappointment that we're in that kind of life now, where rage and anger in a domestic situation can cause the loss of a precious 11-year-old. That to me is injustice."

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According to an update on the family's GoFundMe page aimed at covering Arianna's funeral expenses and the family's medical bills, the Gannons are reminiscing about Arianna's life through photos and videos.

"It's painful. It's healing. And yet it's a wound that will leave a permanent scar on us all," the family said on the fundraising site.

"We are looking at sweet Angelina and Anneliese... filled with gratitude for their safety and return, knowing this could've been exponentially ... infinitely... more grievous... And yet, in the moments of relief and laughter... there's a whisper of guilt for feeling any relief, because the loss we're experiencing is so great."

Ballesteros has been assigned a public defender, whose name wasn't immediately available.

He is due back in court Friday.

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