The first snowstorm of the year hit the Rim country Sunday, causing drivers to slip and slide their way along local highways.
About noon Sunday, Jim Warden was driving his 1994 Chevrolet four-wheel-drive truck south of Pine and lost traction when his tires hit the slush and ice. Warden and his wife Marilyn were heading north, and the four-wheel-drive was disengaged. Officer Bill Murphy of the Arizona Department of Public Safety said the truck slid several yards, turning 180 degrees before sliding off the west bank of Highway 87. The truck then rolled about 35 feet down an embankment, coming to rest on the driver's side lodged against two tall pine trees, the officer said.
Warden was able to walk out on his own.
Mrs. Warden was lifted out by a rope rescue team from the Pine-Strawberry Fire Department. She was transported by ambulance to Sunflower, transferred to a helicopter and flown to St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix. After surgery on a ruptured vessel in her brain, P-S Capt. Harris Scott said, "She was talking, but having some problems with short-term memory. They said the 24 hours following surgery would be the critical period."
The couple has a home in Pine and in Mesa.