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Man pleads guilty to charges from Phoenix car accident, police chase, that resulted in news helicopters colliding in midair

A Phoenix car accident that led to a police chase in which two news crews were killed has resulted in a 26-year-old man pleading guilty to 35 criminal charges, the Arizona Republic reported.

The news crews died after their helicopters collided in midair at Central Avenue and Indian School Road, killing all four men aboard both choppers. Following his arrest in 2007, the defendant told police he had no memory of stealing two trucks, causing an accident after ramming a police cruiser, or leading police on a high-speed chase through Central Phoenix.

He was not charged in the deaths of the television crews but faced decades behind bars on numerous charges, including aggravated assault, criminal damage and auto theft. The case had been scheduled to go to trial but his defense attorney said the defendant decided to plead out when it became apparent that the state was not going to offer any plea deals.

AZ Family reports other charges included unlawful flight, leaving the scene of an accident, endangerment, criminal trespass and criminal damage. He faces up to 467 years in prison. Sentencing has been scheduled for Sept. 10.

KTAR reported police were chasing the defendant, who was driving a work truck, through downtown Phoenix when the helicopters collided above Steele Indian School Park.

The defendant was arrested hours later after barricading himself inside his home in west Phoenix.

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