Driver Causes 4-Vehicle Accident, Flees Scene

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A four-vehicle collision Saturday afternoon at Manzanita Drive and Highway 260 resulted in a Payson resident being arrested as well as the highway being shut down for a short amount of time.

Payson Police Commander Don Engler said Michael Richard Thiele, 25, was arrested after fleeing the scene of the accident.

Thiele, according to police, drove his truck into the back end of a 1993 Infiniti being driven by Philip Lottis of Phoenix, causing that vehicle to strike a 2002 Toyota pickup ahead of it at a stoplight.

The pickup, driven by Francis Garret of Gilbert, was pushed forward until it struck a 2001 Toyota driven by John Bridgford of Phoenix.

"They were stopped so it caused a chain reaction," Engler said. Police were notified of the accident at 1:17 p.m.

Engler said, Thiele, who was driving a white 1999 Dodge pickup, left the location and drove into the Rim Country Mall parking lot off Highway 260.

He then abandoned his and fled on foot northbound into the woods where police apprehended him.

Thiele was arrested and charged with aggravated driving under the influence and fleeing the scene of an injury accident.

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