Three hospitalized in pickup crash on U.S. 70

By Jon Johnson

GRAHAM COUNTY – Three people were hospitalized after a truck driven by an elderly man pulled out in front of highway traffic and collided with a car Nov. 14.

According to an Arizona Department of Public Safety investigation, a red, 1994 Ford Ranger pickup truck driven by Seferino Sanchez, 83, of Safford, was northbound at the intersection of S. Montierth Lane and U.S. Highway 70 at about 3:40 p.m. when he pulled out in front of an eastbound red, 2009 Toyota Camry, driven by Jayme Loree Wright, 31, of Duncan.

Sanchez allegedly said he thought the Camry’s turn signal was on and that the vehicle was going to turn onto S. Montierth Lane.

The vehicles collided and partially blocked highway traffic until the vehicles were cleared and towed from the scene at about 4:10 p.m., according to DPS Sgt. Stewart Shupe.

Sanchez had eight people in his truck, including five passengers in the bed of the vehicle. Only two people in the truck were injured badly enough to warrant medical attention, however, and a 14-year-old girl who reported back pain and a 12-year-old girl with a cut forehead were taken by Southwest Ambulance to Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center (MGRMC), where they were treated and released.

Wright, who is pregnant, was also transported to MGRMC for precautionary measures and released the same day. A front seat passenger in the truck indicated ankle pain but refused medical treatment at the scene. 

Sanchez was given a citation for failure to control his vehicle to avoid a collision. Sgt. Shupe said while DPS officers simply write citations and don’t necessarily attempt to find who is to blame for a collision, this incident was cut and dry.

“He pulled out in front of her,” Shupe said.