Car Hits Jaywalker; Shuts Down Highway 87


Margaret Martinez of Payson told police she didn't see the man she hit with her car Friday night while she was driving north on the Beeline Highway.

All she saw, she said, were shards of safety glass spraying toward her face as the man hit her windshield and bounced over her 1996 Geo Metro.

"I'd say he flew roughly 75 feet from the impact," said Payson Police Detective Steve Johnson. Beginning at 11:30 p.m., Beeline traffic was rerouted to side streets for about 90 minutes as officers investigated the accident.

Witnesses said the victim, 24-year-old Billy Jack Gastelum, was walking south along the Beeline and stepped off the curb near the German Cowboy and into oncoming traffic.

"He hit the front bumper, and you can actually see where the fabric (of his pants) weaved into the rubber (of the bumper)," Johnson said.

Martinez, who was obviously in shock, drove on down the highway until she realized what happened, Johnson said. She then drove back to the scene of the accident.

The detective said the interior of the car was full of safety glass. "It must have been like an explosion of glass, literally right in her face," he said.

Martinez was treated for minor cuts to her face. Gastelum suffered a broken leg, skinned elbows and a large gash above his left eye.

Lt. Don Engler said no charges have been filed.

Although officers don't think the driver had been drinking, they suspect that the victim might have been.

"We have obtained blood samples, but those haven't been analyzed yet," Engler said.

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