The moment an Arizona driver may have inadvertently saved the lives of a pedestrian family last week was caught on surveillance footage.
Traffic camera footage released by the Phoenix Police Department on Wednesday shows a 2017 Jeep Renegade driven by 28-year-old Ernesto Otanez Oveso speeding through a red light straight into a busy intersection before being T-boned by a 2016 Chevy Cruz, driven by 27-year-old Shannon Vivar, who had the right of way.
The Oct. 14 collision took place just feet away from a pair of stroller-pushing pedestrians, later identified as Ulysses Betancourt, his fiancé, Gabrielle Burns, and their 11-month-old son, Damian, who were sent scrambling in the aftermath.
Footage suggests that the family, who said they were heading to Walmart at the time of the incident, may have been directly in Oveso's path had Vivar's vehicle not stopped him.
Thankfully, the unwitting hero, who was in her Chevy with her mother, Shirley, and 3-year-old son, at the time of the crash only suffered minor injuries.
Vivar later said at a press conference that she doesn't remember if she "sped up or pushed the brake" before the collision, but added that she believes she was somehow supposed to be in the Jeep's path to protect the family.
"Even though it wasn't my intention to, but the way I see it was it was meant to happen that way," she said.
After the crash, the suspected drunk driver and another woman who was in the car with him took off running, police say. When a witness, who saw Oveso fleeing the scene, tried to stop him, the suspect allegedly threatened him with a knife and stabbed one of the doors of the man's car.
Oveso was arrested on charges of driving under the influence and aggravated assault, as well as prohibited possession after a gun was found in his vehicle. His companion had not been located as of Thursday morning but is not facing any charges, the Arizona Republic reports.
Betancourt expressed gratitude toward Vivar after he and his family escaped the potentially-deadly incident unscathed.
"I definitely thought, wow, you know, he's gonna hit us," he told KNXT-TV.
"There are people in your lives when you look at them you say, 'well I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for them', and from now on I'll always say, 'I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you guys.'"