Payson Resident Flown To Valley After Accident Near Rye

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A Payson resident had to be airlifted to the Valley after suffering chest injuries in an accident on Highway 87 near Rye.

Kevin Cheatham, 24, of Payson was driving southbound on Highway 87 in his 2007 Nissan four-door vehicle Wednesday at approximately 12:37 p.m when he rear-ended a flatbed loaded with lumber about two miles north of Rye, DPS Sgt. John Whetten said.

Cheatham was traveling at about 65 miles per hour when he hit the flatbed, which was being towed by a commercial tow truck, resulting in Cheatham suffering chest injuries, DPS said.

Cheatham was airlifted to Scottsdale-Osborn Hospital in the Valley.

"The tow-truck was going very slow down the hill out of Payson going towards Rye when he (Cheatham) hit him," Whetten said.

"He (Cheatham) wasn't wearing a seat belt and the air bag blew him into the back seat during the impact," Whetten added.

Whetten said evidence at the scene suggests impairment may have been involved.

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