Four People Hurt In Trio Of Weekend Accidents


One hard-luck Rim country motorcyclist received a goodly share of woe last weekend including a lengthy hospital stay which he'll end in the custody of law enforcement officers.

The motorcyclist, 35-year-old Arthur Belyeu of Payson, had been cruising down Highway 260 at about 2 p.m. Saturday when he stopped in the middle of the road, apparently preparing to turn off into the Kohl's Ranch Lodge parking lot.

There, the man was rear-ended and run over by a truck driven by his own traveling companion, Andrew Edward Winter, 20, also of Payson.

"We thought the injuries (to Belyeu) were going to be fatal," Department of Public Safety Officer Sgt. John Whetten said. "They helicoptered him out and he underwent surgery for severely broken legs, ribs and head injuries, but he did survive."

Winter had been home from military boot camp for one day when the accident occurred.

"He had taken his eyes off the road to shift gears," Whetten said. "When he looked up and saw (Belyeu), it was too late. He hit him. They had to back up the truck and pull the motorcyclist out from underneath the truck."

Adding insult to literal injury, DPS officers soon discovered that Belyeu not only has a felony warrant out for his arrest from the U.S. Marshal's Office, but was driving a stolen motorcycle at the time of the accident .

"When he does get out of the hospital," Whetten said, "the marshal's office will be waiting for him."

Beeline accident

Another non-fatal accident, this one involving a motorcycle and a car, happened Sunday afternoon on the southbound lane of the Beeline Highway at milepost 228.2, the very bottom of Slate Creek near Sunflower.

On the motorcycle were Michael Jones, 62, and Barbara Gannon, 22, both natives of Somerset, England, who had rented the motorcycle to tour the United States. Both suffered broken ribs and concussions.

The driver of the car was 21-year-old Roberto Amador of Mesa. "Alcohol was involved," Whetten said, "and charges against Amador are pending."

According to one witness, traffic was backed up for about an hour and extended about a mile south until the road was cleared.

As DPS officers investigated the scene, Whetten said, an "extremely DUI driver who was all over the road" was spotted heading south. Following a 1.5-mile chase, DPS officers forced the driver to stop and physically extracted him from the car. At that point, the driver identified as 38-year-old Mark J. Raipto of Fountain Hills instigated a physical altercation with the officers.

Raipto was cited for driving under the influence of alcohol, criminal damage, felony flight and resisting arrest. He had been heading home from Payson after attending the weekend rodeo, Whetten said.

Wounded at Woody's

In Payson Friday evening, rescue workers responded to Woody's gas station on the corner of Beeline Highway and Bonita Street to treat a 3-year-old boy who had been hit by a car.

According to police, the boy was with his family at the gas station when he darted out of the family's car right in front of a woman who was pulling her car away from the pumps.

Witnesses said the woman was driving at a safe speed, and that the boy just bolted out in front of her.

The boy suffered severe head injuries, and was flown to Phoenix Children's Hospital where he was admitted to the intensive care unit.

The woman was not charged.

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