Drunk driver rear ends couple at intersection

By Jon Johnson


SAFFORD – An alleged intoxicated driver rear-ended a couple who were idle at the intersection of U.S. Highway 70 and 1st Avenue in Safford on Thursday night.

According to a Safford Police report, a blue Ford pickup truck was stationary at the traffic light while facing eastbound on U.S. Highway 70 at about 10 p.m. when a white Ford van ran into the rear of the truck. While the rear of the truck suffered extensive damage, neither occupant reported a significant injury.

The driver of the van, Benjamin Nicholas Begeman, 39, of Peoria, Arizona, reportedly stumbled out of the vehicle and into the restroom of the Giant gas station at the intersection. When questioned by police, Begeman allegedly admitted drinking at a nearby bar prior to the collision. He also didn’t appear to be injured despite heavy front-end damage to the van he was driving.

Since he wasn’t injured, Begeman was given a field sobriety test, which he failed. He was then arrested for DUI and was taken to Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center, where an Emergency Room staff member drew blood for analysis purposes. Begeman was then transported to an area by the Economy Inn near the 300 block of E. U.S. Highway 70 at his request and released pending lab analysis of his blood and charging from the Graham County Attorney’s Office.