Atv Rider Dies After Hitting Tree

Deputy suffers possible stroke while on scene

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The Gila County Sheriff’s Office says a man died following a crash on an all-terrain vehicle north of Young and a detective is still recovering after becoming ill on scene.

David Silverstein, 27, died Friday from injuries when he crashed an ATV on Forest Road 200, just south of Colcord Road near Haigler Creek.

The sheriff’s office received reports of a wreck just after 6 p.m., but due to limited cell phone reception, could not nail down an exact location. Deputies eventually found Silverstein’s ATV about a quarter mile south of Colcord Road, off Highway 260.

When the Christopher-Kohl’s Fire Department arrived, Silverstein had already passed, said Fire Chief Rob Jarvis.

Silverstein was reportedly camping in the area with family when he drove off to find cell service, said Lt. Tim Scott with GCSO. When he hit a curve in the road, he apparently lost control, hit a pine tree and was ejected. He was not wearing a helmet, Jarvis said. His body was taken to Messinger Funeral Home in Payson.

While Det. Karen Baltz was investigating the wreck with another detective, she reportedly developed stroke-like symptoms, Scott said.

She was airlifted from the scene to the Mayo Clinic in the Valley. She is recovering, but will likely be in the hospital for “a little while,” Scott said.

On the accident investigation, the sheriff’s office is waiting on toxicology results to determine if other factors contributed to the wreck.

Christopher-Kohls Fire said it has seen an increase in ATV accidents in the past six weeks with roughly one or two wrecks each week. While most involve minor injuries like road rash, scrapes and bruises, helmets and other protective gear would have prevented 90 percent of those injuries, Jarvis said.

“We want to take this opportunity to again stress the importance of safety equipment and riding responsibly,” the department said in a press release.

Christopher-Kohl’s Fire recommends all ATV and dirt bike riders wear safety equipment, including: helmet, goggles, shoes or boots, gloves, long sleeve shirt and identification.

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