Blinded by dust and the fading sun, 50-year-old Robert Taylor of Phoenix drove an ATV over the edge of Fossil Creek Road New Year's Day and was killed.
Taylor was following another ATV driven by his stepdaughter's fiance, Ted Alopogianis, 37, on Fossil Creek Road west of Strawberry when the younger man realized Taylor was no longer behind him, Gila County Sheriff's Deputy Brian Havey said Monday.
"(The other ATV) was kicking up dust, so there was dust and sun in his eyes," Havey said. "He basically drove right over the edge."
The ATV and Taylor, who wasn't wearing a helmet, plunged about 53 feet down a steep rock-covered slope.
Taylor's head hit a rock and the ATV he was riding rolled over him, Havey said. Taylor was killed instantly, Paul Coe, Pine-Strawberry Fire Chief said.
The two men had borrowed the ATV's from a friend and had only ridden all-terrain vehicles twice before. Taylor was not wearing a helmet or goggles, either of which could have made a difference, Havey said, and Alopogianis said the men had a couple of drinks before the ride.
"It was a combination of four or five factors," the deputy said.