Tucson Woman Accused In Fatal May Hit-And-Run Believed She Hit Animal

Injured Man Was Then Runover By Other Vehicles

The woman arrested for striking a man with her car on a busy Tucson roadway in May, then driving away as he lay critically injured in the roadway where he was runover by other cars, will be back to court this week.

Daniela Diane Shelby is charged with a Class Three felony for failure to remain at the scene of the May 8 injury accident on East Sunrise Drive west of Swan Road. She has been ordered to appear in Pima County Superior Court on Oct. 7 for a status conference.

Shelby, 26, admits being at the wheel of the Ford Taurus which struck Tombstone resident Roberto “Keevers” Lopez but told detectives she assumed it was a coyote or dog that she hit. Court records show the Pima County Attorney’s Office recently offered Shelby a plea deal, but details of the offer have not been made public.

Lopez’s death was investigated by the Pima County Sheriff’s Office, with Det. Sean McMillan as case officer. According to the nearly 170-page incident report, Lopez went to Tucson that day to accompany a friend who was having surgery at Tucson Medical Center.

The friend told McMillan they arrived at TMC in time for his 2:30 p.m. surgery but then Lopez, 62, said he was hungry and wanted to get something to eat. When the friend was discharged at 5:00 p.m., Lopez wasn’t in the hospital, the report states.

McMillan noted the friend returned to Tombstone alone after driving around the area looking for Lopez who didn’t have a cell phone. There is no record of the sheriff’s office nor Tucson Police being contacted for help locating Lopez, who stood five foot, five inches tall and weighed less than 90 pounds.

Multiple drivers started calling 911 at 9:22 p.m. to report a man in dark clothing who appeared to be staggering or dancing along eastbound Sunrise Drive between Hacienda Del Sol and Pontatoc Road. Some drivers said the man was standing on the white shoulder line extremely close to passing vehicles.

Minutes later, another driver called to report a man lying in the middle of the westbound roadway as multiple cars drove over the body. Other drivers stopped, but none saw what vehicle struck Lopez, who was thrown out of his shoes by the impact.

Lopez died at 9:35 p.m. of multiple blunt force injuries to his head, chest, and extremities. He was about five miles north of TMC, according to McMillan.

Shelby was arrested that evening at her home after deputies traced the Ford Taurus she abandoned a short distance from the accident scene. The vehicle had a damaged bumper, flat tire, and what appeared to be blood splatter.

A security guard at La Paloma Resort stated a woman with a distinctive hair color got out of the Taurus and left the area in another vehicle. Shelby, whose hair matched the guard’s description, told investigators she hit an animal on Sunrise and then continued driving until she found a safe place to pull over.

She then called someone to give her a ride home, leaving her disabled vehicle.

McMillan’s report notes that a judge authorized a search warrant authorizing the collection of several blood samples from Shelby after her arrest. Those results haven’t been disclosed in court.

Judge Michael Butler has yet to announce a trial date. In the meantime, Shelby remains out of custody after posting a $75,000 bond.