By Jon Johnson
SAFFORD – To add insult to injury, literally, the driver injured in a two-truck collision at the intersection of Thatcher Boulevard and 11th Avenue on Thursday, June 29, was given a traffic citation for failure to yield while making a left turn.
According to a Safford Police report, Carlos Franco, 18, was westbound in the center turn lane on Thatcher Boulevard in his white, Toyota Tacoma pickup truck when he attempted to turn southbound onto 11th Avenue.
Unfortunately for Franco, he did not notice an eastbound black, Ford F-150 pickup truck in the far south lane. As Franco began his turn, the Ford struck the rear passenger side and spun the Toyota nearly 360 degrees. 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 Ford, which suffered severe front-end damage on its passenger side, coasted eastbound and came to rest on the southern shoulder of Thatcher Boulevard in front of the Graham County Chamber of Commerce. Officers were dispatched to the collision at about 11:39 a.m.
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 Franco to Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center for treatment. Franco’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 or need medical attention.
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.