Payson resident Larry Peterson, 55, died in a motorcycle accident Thursday afternoon. Peterson was the retired manager of the Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery.
The fatal motorcycle accident closed Highway 260 long enough to land a helicopter and airlift 48-year-old Teri Peterson to Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn.
The collision occurred as the couple rode eastbound on Highway 260 in the late afternoon. Eighty-four-year-old driver Rosalind Jeannette pulled into traffic in front of the Peterson's motorcycle and the motorcycle driver was unable to avoid a collision, according to Payson Police officer Dave Blalock.
Jeannette was exiting the Payson Day Spa parking lot going west.
The driver of the motorcycle attempted to lay the bike down to avoid colliding with Jeannette.
Blalock said Payson Fire Department paramedics arrived first on the scene and began administering CPR to Larry Peterson. He died shortly thereafter at the scene.
Blalock would not say whether Jeannette faces charges. Preliminary reports suggest Jeannette was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
"It's still under investigation," Blalock said.
Larry and Teri Peterson were wearing helmets and full leather gear.
Teri Peterson sustained serious injuries and is in fair condition in Scottsdale.
Friend Patty Behm remembered Peterson's good-natured personality.
"He did all the field trips for the kids at the fish hatchery," Behm said. "He always had a smile on his face."
More than 65,000 motorcycle accidents occur every year. Nearly 4,000 Americans die in those accidents, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.