Sleepy Driver Sends Two To Hospital

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A Gilbert man traveling south on the Beeline Highway Monday afternoon fell asleep at the wheel, crossed the center line and struck a northbound vehicle.

Two of the victims were transported by helicopter to Scottsdale Memorial-North hospital, but their names or conditions were not known by press time.

According to Department of Public Safety officers working the scene, both vehicles involved -- a Chevrolet S-10 pickup and a Toyota Camry --suffered extensive front-end damage.

"One of the passengers in the pickup had to be extricated," Payson Fire Chief John Ross said Tuesday. She was one of those taken out by helicopter.

The Gilbert driver, 20-year-old Eric Lassen, suffered only minor injuries and was able to crawl out of the truck. "He suffered some minor facial bleeding from the deployment of the airbags," the chief said.

DPS Officer Chris Vargas said the accident, which occurred around 3 p.m., resulted in the closure of both lanes for 1 1/2 hours as emergency vehicles and helicopters cleared the scene.

Vargas said Lassen was cited for driving left of the center lane.

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