Woman flown to Tucson hospital after rollover crash


GRAHAM COUNTY – A woman was listed as being in serious condition at a Tucson hospital as of Tuesday evening, after suffering severe injuries in an early Monday morning rollover crash south of Pima.

Elizabeth Roberts, 28, of Portsmouth, Rhode Island, was a passenger in a grey Toyota Tacoma that rolled over after failing to negotiate a 90-degree turn on Cluff Ranch Road. The driver, Chad Schleper, 25, of Safford, is being investigated for possibly driving under the influence of alcohol.

According to a report from the Graham County Sheriff’s Office, deputies and emergency responders were dispatched to Cluff Ranch Road at about 3:51 a.m. regarding a vehicle rollover. The road in that area is dirt and is just west of Central Road. The truck was located roughly 25 to 30 feet from the roadway.

The Pima Fire Department and its emergency services crew responded and assisted at the scene. Southwest Ambulance transported Schleper to Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center, where he was treated for minor injuries and released.

Roberts suffered a fractured neck and skull and was flown to Banner – University Medical Center Tucson for treatment.

According to Lt. Jerry Nelson, there was an odor of alcohol at the scene of the crash, and Schleper’s blood was taken for DUI testing purposes.

Nelson said Schleper was at Cluff Ponds when he discovered his vehicle was out of gas. He then borrowed the Toyota truck with the intention of going into Pima to get gas for his vehicle but never made it. While the Sheriff’s Office’s investigation into whether Schleper was impaired is ongoing, Nelson said it was obvious that speed was a factor in the crash.

“He was going too fast for the turn and couldn’t make it,” Nelson said.