Two Killed In Highway 260 Accident

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A Michigan couple were killed when a load of shoring material came loose from a westbound truck and crashed into their vehicle.

The May 12 accident occurred about one-half mile east of Kohl's Ranch, according to Sgt. John Whetten, supervisor of the Payson office of the DPS Highway Patrol.

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Doris and Richard Smith of Comins, Mich., were killed when a load of shoring materials from the Highway 260 construction project, fell from an oncoming truck and crashed head-on into their vehicle May 12.

Whetten said the truck was loaded with beams, shoring jacks and other materials used in the bridge construction on Highway 260. When the driver came into the right-hand curve, the load shifted, breaking its straps and slid into oncoming traffic.

Killed by the head-on impact from the falling materials were Doris Alberta Smith, 66, and Richard James Smith, 67, both of Comins, Mich.

Two people in a second vehicle were injured by the head-on as well, Margaret Agnes Sanchez, 58, and Raymond Lee Sanchez, 61, of Albuquerque, N.M.

Whetten said the Sanchezes were treated at the scene, then transported to Payson Regional Medical Center where they were released.

A third vehicle narrowly escaped the impact by driving onto the shoulder and over some of the fallen beams.

The truck, owned by Atlas Forklift Rental, Inc., was driven by Edward Steven Navarro, 47, of Phoenix.

"Our investigation showed the truck had been misloaded and straps instead of chains were used," Whetten said.

Witnesses reported the truck was going about 45 mph, Whetten said, so speed was not a factor.

No charges have been filed pending completion of the investigation.

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