Department of Public Safety Det. Terry Phillips and his wife are recovering after a motorcycle accident this weekend that nearly claimed their lives.
The officer and his wife, both in their 50s, are recovering in Valley hospitals and are listed in stable condition.
The couple were heading southbound on 87 when a minivan pulled out of the One Stop convenience store, located on the southwest corner of Highway 87 and Bonita Street, and turned northbound in front of Phillips’ motorcycle. Phillips swerved and laid the bike down to avoid a collision.
There was no contact with the van. While witnesses said they thought the van had driven over the woman’s head, that did not occur, said Police Chief Don Engler.
Because all of Payson Fire’s units were tied up on other calls at the time, Houston Mesa Fire Chief Mark Essary rushed in to help. Essary just happened to be down the street.
When he arrived, he found Phillips laying face up and conscious in the middle of the roadway in pain and concerned about his wife’s health. His wife was lying nearby, but face down and unconscious.
Payson Police officers had picked up the couple’s Harley-Davidson bike and parked it on the side of the roadway. Essary said it was still in one piece.
Paramedics arrived quickly and the woman started to come around, but was in and out of consciousness.
The driver of the gold van, meanwhile, was uninjured.
Paramedics rushed the woman to Payson Regional Medical Center and then airlifted her to the Valley in critical condition.
Due to the call volume, Payson Fire used its ambulance to transport Phillips to the airport where he was flown to a Valley hospital.
Phillips had surgery that night and had another surgery planned for Monday. Essary said he had a severely broken leg, several broken ribs and road rash. “It was a pretty intense operation,” Essary said.
The woman had head trauma, a broken clavicle and several broken ribs.
Both were wearing helmets.
The driver of the van was cited for failure to yield to right of way from a private drive.
The roadway was closed until 10:30 p.m. while police investigated.
Engler said because of the severity of the injuries they were concerned it could turn into a fatality investigation.