By Jon Johnson
SAFFORD – At least one man was hospitalized Thursday after being involved in a collision between two trucks.
The collision occurred shortly after 11:30 a.m. at the intersection of U.S. Highway 70 and 11th Avenue.
According to witnesses, a white, Toyota Tacoma pickup truck was westbound on U.S. Highway 70 and slowed down to turn southbound onto 11th Avenue. An eastbound black, Ford F-150 apparently did not notice the truck turning and collided into the Tacoma’s rear passenger side with the Ford’s front passenger side.
The collision caused the Tacoma’s truck bed to go flying approximately 20 yards and land near the entrance to Firth Park on 11th Avenue. The Tacoma also spun around in a nearly complete 360-degree turn due to the collision, according to witnesses. The Ford gently coasted eastbound and came to rest on the southern shoulder of U.S. Highway 70 in front of the Graham County Chamber of Commerce.
Several people at the park saw the collision, including two youths who were utilizing the Safford Skatepark.
“It scared me,” said 11-year-old skatepark user Teagun Walker. “The truck did like a 360 and the bed flew way off.”
Paramedics from Lifeline Ambulance arrived at the scene and transported the driver of the Tacoma to Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center for treatment. The driver’s father said his son had a laceration to his face and was advising of some back issues. The Tacoma’s airbag deployed in the collision.
The driver of the Ford, a female, was checked out by paramedics at the scene but didn’t appear to be transported. It is currently unknown to Gila Valley Central if the driver was distracted, causing her to not notice the Toyota making the turn, but she did not appear impaired at the scene. Also unknown to Gila Valley Central is the approximate speed the Ford was traveling or if the Toyota turned in front of the Ford without allowing time to avoid a collision. This article will be updated when more information becomes available.
The collision forced eastbound traffic to use the center turn lane for about 30 minutes until the wrecked Toyota was removed by Nuttall’s Towing, which used a crane to lift the damaged rear end off the ground. Nuttall’s also removed the Ford with a flatbed tow truck.
This article was updated to list new information that the Toyota was westbound attempting to turn southbound on 11th Avenue when struck. Gila Valley Central will update further when an accident report from the Safford Police Department is available.