Another Vehicle Found Off Side Of 'Insurance Curve'

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Another car was found at the bottom of a ravine off Fossil Creek Road outside of Strawberry Wednesday. No one was inside, leading Gila County Sheriff's deputies to speculate that the vehicle was pushed over the edge of the area known as "insurance curve."

According to Sheriff's Det. Brian Havey, the green Jeep Grand Cherokee was reported stolen from Payson earlier in the morning.

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The Gila County Sheriff's Office and Tonto Rim Search and Rescue pulled the third vehicle in a month out of a canyon off Fossil Creek Road. The area, known as "insurance curve" is a shear drop of 170 feet, approximately seven miles outside of Strawberry.

"It belongs to someone who lives in Payson North," Havey said. "That's all we really know at this point."

This is the third time in the last month a car has gone over the edge off the narrow stretch of road. About two weeks ago, a couple taking photos went off the road. Both survived without serious injury.

On May 27, Matthew Hughey, 24, Pine and Rebekah Hodges 17, of Payson, were killed when their car went off the road there.

According to Sheriff's Det. George Ratliff, they have recovered several stolen vehicles at that location over the years.

"They push them over the cliff," Ratliff said. "The drop is about 170 feet and it's straight down."

The sheriff's office and members of the Tonto Rim Search and Rescue squad used rope pulleys to inch the car up the steep cliff wall.

"The incident is still under investigation," Payson Police Sgt. Tom Tieman said. "I don't have a whole lot of information yet. There were a couple prior incidents relating to that vehicle -- some break-ins that we need to look into to see if they are related."

Anyone with information about the stolen vehicle is asked to contact the police department at (928) 474-5177.

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