On May 6, 2021 at approximately 4:15 AM the Graham County Communications Center received a call of a vehicle rollover accident with injuries at the 2100 block of W. Safford Bryce Road.
When first responders arrived, they found a 2004 Ford Expedition on the south side of the road in a dirt canal. The vehicle was severely damaged, and it was later determined it had rolled over and come to rest in the canal. The driver, identified as Miguel Angel Constante Berlanga (age 31 of Thatcher), was injured, but conscious. He was later transported to MT. Graham Regional Medical Center by Lifeline Ambulance for treatment. His condition status is unknown at the time of this press release, but his injuries are not life threatening.
A male victim, later identified as the passenger, Rene Richard Villescas (age 35 of Safford) was found south of the vehicle on the south side of the canal on the dirt embankment. Law enforcement began CPR, but despite their efforts, Villascas was pronounced deceased at the scene.
The preliminary investigation indicates that this was a single vehicle accident. The vehicle was traveling west on Safford Bryce Rd. and at approximately the 2100 block of W. Safford Bryce Rd. went across the east bound lane and at one point was traveling sideways and went into the canal on the south side of the roadway where it rolled coming to rest upright. The passenger was ejected from the vehicle to the south side of the canal.
There were several witnesses who remained at the scene and gave their statements to law enforcement. An autopsy is scheduled for Rene Richard Villascas, which will be performed by the Pima County Medical Examiners’ Office.
The Graham County Sheriff’s Office, with the assistance of the Department of Public Safety, continue the investigation. The Sheriff’s Office is grateful to all the first responders who gave their assistance, the Safford Police Department, Thatcher Police Department, Department of Public Safety and Lifeline Ambulance.