Three people died in two separate accidents on Highway 87 Saturday evening, just south of Payson.
Barbara Taylor, 55, of Tonto Basin, and 2-year-old Javon Wilson, of Chandler, were killed when the southbound late 1990s model Nissan Sentra Taylor was driving left the highway for an unknown reason and went down a 70-foot cliff, about 3 miles north of Rye, Sgt. John Whetton with DPS said.
Taylor and Wilson both died at the scene, Whetton said.
The accident occurred at milepost 243.8 at approximately 7:42 Saturday evening.
Chandler resident Pearlie Woods, in her mid-50s, was a passenger in the front seat of the car, and suffered serious injuries to her pelvis, back and ribs. She was taken to Scottsdale-Osborn Hospital.
Arthur A. Weingarten, 50, of Warsaw, N.Y., died Saturday evening at approximately 5:37, when he lost control of the Harley-Davidson Sportster he was driving near milepost 230.8 on Highway 87, about 20 miles south of Payson, and crashed into the guardrail.
Whetton said Weingarten was southbound on Highway 87, when he also lost control for an unknown reason and collided with the guardrail separating the northbound and southbound lanes.
Whetton said the first accident involving the vehicle driven by Taylor is still under investigation.
Whetton said all three occupants of the Nissan Sentra were ejected from the vehicle, as it went down the canyon and came to rest on top of two-year-old Wilson at the bottom.
Whetton said the cause of the accident is unknown at this time, but that Taylor apparently made a sharp left turn, just prior to plummeting down the canyon.
"There are no skid marks or other signs on the highway indicating anything, just marks where she jerked the car sharply to the left, just before the accident," Whetton said.
Whetton speculated Taylor may have been trying to avoid something in the highway, causing the accident.
He said indications are that none of the passengers were wearing a seat belt.
"There were two child-restraint seats in the car, and it looks as though the baby was in one of them, but we don't think he was strapped in," Whetton said.
"We found a receipt in the car which indicated they had just left the Wal-Mart in Payson a little earlier and were on their way home," Whetton said.
The cause of the second accident involving Weingarten is also still under DPS investigation, Whetton said.
Weingarten was wearing a helmet, according to Whetton, but suffered severe head trauma.
"It looks as though he hit the guardrail with his front wheel, causing him to lose control," Whetton said.
Whetton said Weingarten had rented the motorcycle in Apache Junction earlier in the day with a friend of his and was apparently on a road trip, when the accident occurred.
Weingarten was taken to Payson Regional Medical Center in critical condition, where he died about five hours later, Whetton said.
The accidents caused traffic on the highway to be either closed or restricted for about three hours, until approximately 10 p.m. Saturday night, when all lanes were re-opened, DPS said.