Weekend Marred By Holiday Accidents


A fatal one-vehicle accident on the Beeline Highway Monday evening was just one of several accidents Memorial Day weekend.

That accident took place at 6 p.m. Monday just south of town.

According to the Department of Public Safety, 34-year-old Michael George Hart was traveling south on Highway 87 with his passenger, 49-year-old Christine Blades.

About 1.5 miles south of town, Hart drifted into the median for unknown reasons, over-corrected to the right, then over-corrected to the left, where he slammed into an embankment. Hart's 1979 International wagon rolled onto its roof before stopping.

According to DPS Officer Vern Havens, Hart was pronounced dead at the scene from massive head and body trauma. Blades suffered a fractured neck and lacerations and was flown directly to Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn, where she is listed in fair condition.

Officers said Hart and Blades were not wearing seat belts.

ATV rollover

Two Payson teenagers were injured in an accident at 6 p.m. Sunday.

Near Mesa del Caballo Sunday evening, two 14-year-old boys were driving an all-terrain vehicle in an area known as the Cow Pond when they lost control of the quad and rolled it.

"They were riding double on the ATV when they either hit a berm or were trying to jump it," Mesa del Fire Chief Frank Hansen said. "They were airborne, and neither one of them was wearing protective equipment of any kind."

One of the boys was severely injured, but, as of Monday morning, was listed in fair condition. The other boy's injuries were not as severe, Hansen said.

Burn victims

A 1-year-old girl was severely burned Sunday evening at the Houston Mesa Campground when a can of flammable liquid was thrown on the ground near her.

According to Lt. Don Engler of the Payson Police Department, the girl's grandfather was trying to light a campfire at about 6 p.m., and used a flammable liquid as an accelerant. The fire flashed, Engler said, and followed the stream back to the can, where it caught on fire, burning the man's hands and face.

"He dropped the can to the ground," Engler said, "but didn't realize the girl was right behind him. She was close enough to him that when the burning can hit the ground, she was also severely burned."

Both were airlifted to Valley hospitals where they were treated for their burns.

On the lake

Sheriff John Armer reported that nearly 50,000 people spent part of their Memorial Day weekend at Roosevelt Lake.

With four of his deputies manning two patrol boats, officers issued 93 citations or written warnings; arrested four boaters for operating boats while under the influence of alcohol; and assisted 34 stalled or stranded boaters.

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