30 Accidents Keep Police Busy

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At least 30 vehicles were involved in weather-related crashes over the weekend with six vehicles piling up in a southbound section of Highway 87, south of town Sunday.

In addition, an RV was pulled from a wash near the humane society building after the driver drove through a flooded crossing.

Motorists traveling too fast for the wet conditions were the main cause for the snarl-ups, said Department of Public Safety officials.

The accident parade kicked off Friday afternoon when a single vehicle crashed on northbound Highway 87 near the Slate Creek hill. No one was injured.

Then at 6:30 p.m., a vehicle hit a deer on Highway 260, five miles east of Christopher Creek. No one was injured.

Although there were no accidents reported in town, Payson Police Chief Don Engler said Highway 87 was backed up to the casino because several lanes of the highway were flooded.

On Saturday, an SUV slammed into a guardrail on southbound Highway 87 two

miles south of town at 11:30 a.m. and at 4:30 p.m., a vehicle rolled on southbound Highway 87 at milepost 233. A male driver was airlifted from the scene with unknown injuries.

Around noon, an out-of-town driver drove his Mercedes RV through a wash on McLane Road, just past the humane society.

Engler explained crews had just set barricades up on the north side of the crossing and were driving around to the south, when the man drove through.

The white RV stalled in the middle of the crossing after the engine flooded with water. A tow truck pulled the RV out and it was towed to the Valley. The driver was not cited because the barricades were not in place.

Later Saturday, at 10:30 p.m., a vehicle crashed near Rye. No injuries were reported.

On Sunday, the number of accidents spiked with heavy rain pummeling the highways.

At 2:50 a.m., officers found a rolled vehicle abandoned on southbound Highway 87 in the Sunflower area. No occupants were located.

From 10:50 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., officers responded to four non-injury collisions including nine vehicles and four injury collisions involved 11 vehicles in a two-mile stretch of southbound Highway 87, 33 miles south of Payson.

“This was in part due to heavy rain and vehicles traveling too fast for conditions on the roadway causing them to hydroplane,” said Robert Bailey, DPS public information officer. “The southbound lanes of the roadway were heavily restricted until fully re-opening at 2:20 p.m. No life-threatening injuries were noted on any of the collisions investigated by DPS.”

The last accident occurred at 3 p.m. Sunday when two vehicles crashed on southbound Highway 87 near milepost 209, Bailey said.

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