Runaway Truck Stops Between Two Homes

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Shortly after 8 a.m. Thursday, R.J. Frost and his co-worker, Misti Roberson, parked their 9,000-pound, 16-foot GMC diesel truck at the top of the hill on South Montana Drive in Payson.

It didn't stay there.

"I put the parking brake on and put it in gear," said Frost, who works for the Payson division of Mesa Insulation. "We went inside the house at the job site. Then people came running and yelling -- saying the truck took off down the hill."

Sprinting outside to see for themselves, Frost and Roberson discovered the truck had rolled off the neighborhood road. It flipped as it went down a steep hill toward townhomes on West Madera Lane, just south of the Green Valley Park lakes.

"It was like a dream. It was scary -- more like a nightmare," Frost said.

"Our first concern was to see if anyone was hurt," Roberson said.

To their amazement, not only was no one hurt, but after snapping trees and crushing a retaining wall, the large truck came to a stop directly between two of the townhouse structures. It missed the nearest home by only a few feet.

"It's hard to describe how we felt," Roberson said. "It was a big relief."

Ron Unruh was having breakfast in his home just 15 feet away from where the truck landed.

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Residents of townhomes on West Madera Lane were showering and having breakfast when this 16-foot insulation truck came crashing down the hill toward them. Police say the residents were fortunate the truck came to rest without injuring anyone or damaging structures.

"I looked out the window and saw a tree rolling down the hill. I pointed it out to my wife, but then she said, ‘it's not a tree, it's a truck,'" Unruh said. "Over the years, this hill has always worried me because I thought the rain would bring something down, but this was a big truck."

The violent descent of the truck caught the attention of neighbors.

"It's really a miracle no one got hurt," said Bob Stephens, president of the Mountain View Manor Homeowners Association where the townhomes are located. "And there's only minimal property damage, too. Considering where (the truck) started rolling, I'm shocked that it didn't hit one of the townhouses."

For Ron Frost, R.J.'s father and supervisor of the insulation company, the near miss helped him keep things in perspective.

"Hey, we've got insurance and we can replace the equipment -- that's easy. I'm just glad everyone's OK and none of the homes were hit," Ron said.

"We've been up here for 20 years. We've got six of these trucks running every day, five days a week," he added.

Initial reports suggest the truck popped out of gear and the parking brake failed.

The vehicle was dragged up from the bottom of the hill with a heavy-duty tow truck. No charges are expected to be filed in the accident.

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