Three people were sent to hospitals Sunday afternoon, following two non-related traffic accidents north of Strawberry that tied traffic up for two hours.
One of the victims, a 55-year-old man from Iowa, was still in the hospital Tuesday morning and was listed in critical condition.
The first accident occurred at milepost 273 on Highway 87, "the first big curve to the left as you drop off the Rim heading south," said Department of Public Safety Officer Jim Oestmann.
The driver, Jamie Rogers, told officers she was commuting from Northern Arizona University to her home in the Valley, when another vehicle passed her on the curve, forcing her off the road.
Rogers' car slid into the guardrail, she over-corrected into the northbound lane, and the car flipped over onto its top.
"We're still trying to track down that other vehicle," Oestmann said. "Rogers said it was a white car that cut her off. One of the witnesses we talked to said there was no other vehicle and we found no vehicle contact on Rogers' car."
Flaggers cause second accident
As traffic came to a halt at the accident scene, officers said motorists jumped out of their vehicles and began flagging down other motorists approaching the accident. One of the flaggers caused the second accident.
"A group of eight bikers on four motorcycles was heading toward the accident when one of the flaggers jumped out to warn them," Oestmann said. All four bikers immediately hit their brakes, he said. Walter Johnson and his wife were pulling a trailer with their 1997 Harley Davidson, which fishtailed because of the abrupt stop.
"The trailer basically jackknifed, which made the bike roll over," the officer said. "It was amazing;
the bike had hardly any damage at all."
Johnson and his wife, Brenda, however, were not wearing helmets and were hurt in the accident. Mrs. Johnson, 42, was air-lifted to John C. Lincoln Hospital in Phoenix, where she was treated for minor abrasions. She was held for observation and released the following morning.
Mr. Johnson suffered multiple injuries and was air-lifted to Scottsdale Healthcare Osborne. "He was undergoing surgery for multiple head and chest injuries," Oestmann said. As of Tuesday morning, he was listed in critical condition.
Rogers, who officers say is in her early 20s, suffered minor cuts and scrapes. She was transported to Payson Regional Medical Center, where she was treated and released.
As of press time, no citations had been issued, and the accident was still under investigation, Oestmann said.