Freak Rock Accident Hurts Two, Kills Dog


A “freak accident” ended tragically Sunday near the Paleo Lookout Site off Highway 260 with a dead dog and two people with broken ankles, fire officials said.

The incident happened around noon at the Paleo Site, some 12 miles east of Payson just before the Kohl’s Ranch turnoff.

An archeology class from the Valley was visiting the site to study rocks. A student in his 20s from the class was climbing on several rocks when he dislodged a large boulder, roughly 2.5 feet by 2 feet. The rock went tumbling down a 30-foot hill along with him, said Hellsgate Fire Chief Gary Hatch.

A woman was sitting directly below the area with her dog when the rock dislodged, Hatch said. As the student went tumbling down the hill along with the rock, several people hollered at the woman to move, and she was able to roll to her side.

The rock ended up landing on the woman’s left ankle, bouncing off and hitting the Husky- Rottweiler mix nearby, Hatch said.

The student landed 10 feet from the woman, Hatch said.

“It was one of the strangest calls we have been on,” he said.

Since the dog was injured, the woman’s husband attempted to put the dog in the back of a truck to bring it to a veterinarian.

As he tried moving it, the dog bit him several times, leaving a severe gash on the back and palm of his right hand, Hatch said.

The man was finally able to get the dog into the truck and drive it to a Star Valley veterinarian, but it died halfway through the trip, Hatch said.

Life Star Ambulance Service transported the student and woman to Payson Regional Medical Center.

Christopher/Kohl’s Fire Department assisted Hellsgate on scene.

Hatch said the site is a popular place for people to stop and look at the views and gather rocks. No one else was injured.


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