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PHOENIX – Here’s a strange one out of Arizona. A woman initially thought to have died in a car crash had actually been choked to death by her son before the accident.

Tina Ferlet, 41, and her 74-year-old grandmother had travelled to Southern California from Oklahoma to pick up Tina’s teenage son, 16-year-old Nathan Ferlet and his 20-year-old girlfriend. They were on their way back to Oklahoma to try and get Nathan help for his mental illness.

At around 4 a.m. Wednesday morning, while his grandmother was driving through Phoenix, the teen leaned up from the backseat where he was sitting with his girlfriend, and began choking his mom sitting in the passenger seat.

The grandmother pulled into a convenience store parking lot and got out to get help, only to jump in the backseat when the teen got in the driver’s seat and drove off.

Nathan’s grandmother and girlfriend tried to get him to stop the car but he didn’t until an hour and 42 minutes later when he struck another vehicle. No one was seriously injured in the crash, but Tina was pronounced dead at the scene. Nathan had choked her to death.

“With 27 years in the police department, just about the time I thought I had seen pretty much everything, something like this comes along,” Phoenix police Sgt. Tommy Thompson said.

Police plan on charging Nathan with murder once he is released from the hospital.

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