By Jon Johnson
SAFFORD – A pedestrian was airlifted to Banner-University Medical Center Tucson on Friday after he was struck by a truck while walking on U.S. Highway 70.
Officers were dispatched at about 8:38 p.m. to the scene at 1010 E. U.S. Highway 70, which is just west of the Copper Steer Steakhouse. Upon arrival, the officer located a man wearing all black clothing with severe head trauma. The pedestrian was later identified as Brandon Librado Carrera, 27, of Safford. Another officer with the Safford Police Department also responded to the scene, along with several deputies from the Graham County Sheriff’s Office, Undersheriff Jeff McCormies and Pima Police Chief Diane Cauthen.
Along with the pedestrian was a man attempting to render first aid. He was identified as Davin Rickard, of Pima, and said he was driving his white, 2002 Ford F-150 pickup truck westbound on the highway on his way home from work at the Arizona State Prison Complex-Safford when he accidentally struck Carrera, who was in the roadway. A lieutenant at the prison later confirmed Rickard had left the facility approximately 15 minutes prior to the collision.
Rickard said he didn’t see Carrera until the last second and attempted to swerve to his left to avoid him but it was too late. The investigating officer reported seeing no signs of impairment to Rickard. Additionally, debris and other evidence show Carrera was struck while walking in the middle of the westbound lane. The area does not have an intersection, crosswalk or sidewalk nearby. The officer noted the area is not normally used for foot traffic and there are no street lights.
Damage to the truck showed Carrera struck the passenger side with damage to the front bumper, headlight, hood and windshield, which had some hair embedded in it indicating Carrera likely struck his head there.
At the time of the collision, all local ambulances were busy on other calls, so the first responders included an off-duty paramedic and an off-duty deputy with the Graham County Sheriff’s Office, who is also trained as a paramedic.
While searching for identification, the officer discovered a metal spoon in Carrera’s pants pocket with apparent burned drug residue. It is unknown at this time whether Carrera was under the influence while walking in the highway but he currently is on probation for drug-related charges.
Carrera began to regain consciousness prior to the arrival of an ambulance and identified himself to the officer. The decision was then made to launch a helicopter and airlift him to the Tucson hospital. As of Monday afternoon, Carrera was listed as being in good condition at the hospital, according to a Banner-UMC Tucson public information officer.
Rickard, who appeared very distraught, was released at the scene without any charges and deemed not at fault.