Two men were killed and a teen badly injured when the off-road vehicle they were in crashed into a tree north of Payson Saturday afternoon.
The men were reportedly on Forest Road 144, several miles north of State Route 260 on the Mogollon Rim, in a four-person Can-Am all-terrain vehicle when it went airborne and struck a tree, according to Pine-Strawberry Fire Chief Gary Morris.
Campers in the area reportedly witnessed the crash and said it appeared the vehicle was traveling quickly, Morris said.
The vehicle wrapped around the tree, landing on its side.
Campers rolled the vehicle back on its wheels, he said.
Two men in the vehicle were killed while a 14-year-old in a rear seat was trapped inside a cage of twisted metal.
It took P-S Fire and the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office roughly an hour to reach the scene, he said. P-S was dispatched around 5 p.m.
Firefighters did not have a way to cut the metal away to free the teen. A camper went from camp to camp asking if anyone had a saw with a metal blade. At a camp roughly 200 yards away, a man had a reciprocating saw and a generator. Crews used that to remove the roll cage.
Native Air landed in a nearby meadow and the teen was airlifted to a Valley hospital.
The teen’s father arrived on the scene. They were reportedly camping several miles away, Morris said.
The Roundup reached out to the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office for more information, but had not heard back as of press time.
Prior to this incident, P-S responded to Forest Road 616 for reports of an ATV crash. No one in that incident was injured.