Payson Man Dies, Two Women Hurt In Hwy. 87 Crash


A Payson man died Monday afternoon and two other women were injured when their vehicle crashed into an oak tree north of town.

James Leon Sanders, 65, was airlifted to a Scottsdale hospital where he later died from his injuries, said Bart Graves, media relations coordinator with the Arizona Department of Public Safety. Sanders was driving southbound on Highway 87, just before the Tonto Natural Bridge turnoff about 1:25 p.m., when for unknown reasons he lost control and the vehicle drifted off the right side of the road.

The 1999 Chevrolet pickup traveled 300 feet before striking a tree.

When officers arrived, James still had a heartbeat, however, he later died at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale.

Two women in the truck suffered non-life threatening injuries.

Mary Edna Sanders, 64, was airlifted to a Valley hospital with back, neck and arm injuries while Sandy Engel, 65, was treated and released from Payson Regional Medical Center for minor injuries.

No other vehicles were involved.

James and Mary were not wearing seat belts, according to DPS officers’ report. It is unknown if Engel was wearing a seat belt.


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