The one-vehicle rollover accident that all but closed Highway 260 Monday looked horrific — but one woman and three dogs survived the crash. Paramedics extracted the woman from her smashed truck and rushed her to a Phoenix hospital. The three dogs were ejected from the truck as it rolled — but two survived and one remains missing.
Westbound traffic was reduced to one lane early Monday afternoon near the scene at mile post 262, about 10 miles east of Payson.
Department of Public Safety (DPS) Officer Rob DeRango witnessed the accident as he tried to find a vehicle driving erratically.
“We received a few calls about a vehicle and I was trying to locate it,” DeRango said. “As we were trying to find the vehicle, it crashed right in front of us. It went off the right side of the road, overcorrected to the left and rolled twice.
The truck ended up upside down in the median, shutting down the left-hand lane.
Three dogs traveling in the truck were reportedly thrown from the vehicle.
Mary Velderrain and her family came upon the crash shortly after it happened and remained at the scene to keep one of the dogs safe while officers searched for the two others, which she said ran off.
“He won’t go anywhere,” said the Gilbert resident of the brown dog. She was returning home from a stay at the family cabin in Christopher Creek. For his part, the dog looked shaken by the experience. “He keeps looking at the EMS vehicle (where his owner was),” said Velderrain.
The driver apparently gave EMS workers the name and number of a friend who came to get the dog.
Contacted later, rescue workers found a second dog shortly afterward in a ditch near the accident. It had injuries to its hindquarters and was taken to a veterinarian in Star Valley.
Hellsgate Fire Chief Gary Hatch said that dog had gotten to his feet and walked a bit in the vet’s office, which cheered the firefighters.
The third dog remained missing by press time. She’s a cockapoo — a cocker spaniel-poodle mix. The owner appealed for help in finding the dog — named Bella Blue, for her blue eyes.
If you find the dog, call the Star Valley Veterinary Clinic, the Humane Society of Central Arizona or the Roundup.