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For The Second Weekend in a Row, The Arizona Department of Public Safety Investigates Seven Separate Fatal Crashes Statewide

One Crash on I-10 Near Tonapah Resulted in The Loss of Seven Lives

Monday, July 30, 2012 -

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On Sunday July 29, 2012 at around 11 a.m., a semi-tractor trailer rig driven by 57-year-old Jose Mireles of Laveen, was traveling westbound on Interstate 10 near the Burnt Wells rest area at milepost 87 when it crossed through the median and struck a passenger van that was traveling eastbound. That crash, which caused both vehicles to catch fire, pushed both vehicles into a culvert on the eastbound right shoulder. Seven people riding in the van were killed. The driver of the semi truck and his wife, who was a passenger in the semi, were taken by air ambulance to Banner Good Samaritan Hospital. Both are expected to survive. It will be several days before the medical examiner can positively identify the victims. Firefighters from the Harquahala, Tolleson and Tonapah Fire Departments did an excellent job dealing with this very critical incident.

A single-vehicle fatal collision occurred Sunday July 29, 2012 at 10:07 p.m. on State Route 87 at milepost 10.0. A Ford pickup driven by Harold L. Miller, 88, from Ajo, Ariz., was southbound when for an unknown reason the driver lost control of the vehicle running off the roadway to the right. The driver overcorrected, crossed the center line into the northbound lane and hit the embankment, causing damage to the passenger side. The airbag did deploy, but Miller, who was not wearing a seat belt, was pronounced deceased at Payson Regional Medical Center.

On July 29, 2012 at around 1:30 p.m., a Toyota SUV was traveling westbound on Interstate 40 during a heavy rainstorm when the driver, Jane Rita Schopen, 55, of Lake Havasu City, lost control of the vehicle causing it to hydroplane into the median and roll over. Jerome Anthony Schopen, 94, of Lake Havasu City, who was a back passenger in the vehicle, was transported to Flagstaff Medical Center where he was pronounced deceased.

Early on Sunday July 29, 2012 at 12:44 a.m., a Ford Van Ambulance belonging to Rural Metro, was traveling northbound on State Route 95 and left the roadway slowing in the emergency lane. A Honda motorcycle driven by Todd Geoffrey McIntire, 33, of Yuma, was traveling northbound in the number-one lane behind the ambulance. The driver of the ambulance believed the roadway was clear and began to execute a U-turn to travel south. The ambulance turned across the number-one and number-two lanes on Northbound U.S. 95 and collided with the trailing motorcycle. McIntire was pronounced deceased on scene.

On Saturday July 28, 2012 at 7:20 a.m., a four-vehicle collision occurred on State Route 77 at MP 119.7, about four and a half miles north of Mammoth, Ariz., resulting in a fatality, a subject with critical injuries and two more persons suffering less-serious injuries.

Vehicle #1 was a gray 1993 4-door Subaru driven by Stephen Maes, a 20-year-old male from Mammoth, Ariz. Maes sustained critical injuries and was air evac'd to a local area hospital.

Vehicle #2 was a red 1999 Buick four-door driven by Salvador Chavez, a 63-year-old male from Hayden, Ariz. Chavez sustained fatal injuries as a result of that collision. His wife, Mary Chavez, a 69-year-old female, also from Hayden, sustained non-life-threatening injuries and was taken to a local area hospital.

Vehicle #3 was a red 1988 Toyota four-door driven by Jesse Hanna, a 24-year-old male from Oracle, Ariz., which was also occupied by Kathleen Hanna, his 23-year-old wife. Neither sustained injuries.

Vehicle #4 was a black 2003 Hyundai four-door, driven by Francisco Chavez, a 25-year-old male from Tucson. Chavez sustained minor injuries and was taken to a local-area hospital.

Vehicle #1 was traveling northbound on S.R. 77 when it crossed the center line striking Vehicle #2 head on.

Vehicle #2 rotated off the roadway and rolled into a deep ravine.

Vehicle #3 struck the rear of Vehicle #1 after Vehicle #1 struck Vehicle #2.

Vehicle #4 also struck the rear of Vehicle #1 after it was struck by Vehicle #3.

On Saturday July 28, 2012 at 7:48 a.m., a two-vehicle fatal collision involving a motorcycle occurred on S.R. 87 near Fort McDowell. The driver of the motorcycle left the number-two lane and collided with the passenger-side rear bumper of a Chevrolet sedan then continued until it collided with the guardrail off the left side of the road where the rider was thrown from the motorcycle. The driver/rider, Denise Eve Turner, 43, of Chandler, was declared deceased on scene.

On Saturday July 28, 2012 at 6:46 a.m., a two-vehicle fatal collision occurred on I-10 eastbound at milepost 230.1 near Red Rock. A Dodge pickup truck driven by Manuel Roman, 60, of Phoenix, collided with a Nissan SUV, then went off the right side of the road and rolled over. The driver was ejected from the vehicle and pronounced deceased on scene.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety is a state-level law enforcement agency whose mission is to protect human life and property by enforcing state laws, deterring criminal activity and providing vital support to the State of Arizona and its citizens.