Valley Couple Killed In Rollover On Hwy. 87


A Valley coupled was killed Sunday night after the truck they were in rolled and struck a tree just north of Strawberry.

Authorities said there were two other rollovers in Rim Country over the weekend, although none involved fatalities.

On Sunday, Leonard Colpitts, 57, of Mesa, was driving southbound on Highway 87 in a gray 2006 Nissan pickup about 6:45 p.m. when for unknown reasons he drifted off the right shoulder of the highway, said Department of Public Safety Public Information Officer Robert “Bob” Bailey.

As Leonard overcorrected, the truck crossed the northbound lanes, rolling down a ravine and striking a tree, Bailey said.

Leonard and Tricia Colpitts, 53, of Mesa, died due to injuries suffered in the crash, he said.

Just after the crash, a man driving to Payson said as he was driving down the road he noticed a blinking light off the roadway.

As he drove closer, he realized the light was from the turn signal of an overturned vehicle in a ravine.

Since two other vehicles had stopped, the man drove on to where he could get a cell signal and called for help.

Earlier on Sunday, the Gila County Sheriff’s Office and the Payson Police Department assisted DPS with a hit and run accident on Highway 87, south of Payson.

PPD Chief Don Engler said a man reportedly struck a vehicle near Oxbow Estates, causing the vehicle to roll. The man fled to his home in Payson.

Police later arrested the man at his residence near Elm and Colcord, where they located his vehicle with front-end damage consistent with the accident, Engler said.

On Saturday about 7:45 a.m., the Payson Fire Department and sheriff’s office assisted DPS with a rollover on Highway 87, five miles south of Payson.

Further details on the accident were unavailable at press time.


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