Two injured in morning wreck<br><i>Two-vehicle crash backs up traffic for miles</i>

Staff photos by Angela DeWelles and Dean H. Borgwardt

Firefighters clear up the wreckage on Arizona 260 and Western Drive after an early morning two-vehicle wreck sent two to the hospital, Thursday. Northbound traffic was backed up to milepost 212 for hours as DPS deputies routed traffic east on Western Drive.

Verde Valley Fire District, Cottonwood Fire Department and the Arizona Department of Public Safety responded to the wreck involving a Dodge pick up truck and a dump truck, marked M&M Excavating and Construction of Cottonwood.

The vehicles apparently collided in the intersection, causing the dump truck to turn over on the shoulder of the highway, where it caught fire.

A DPS spokesperson said that two vehicles were involved and at least two patients were transported to a hospital, the extent of their injuries had not yet been reported.

Verde Valley Fire District Captain Joel Rosenberg said that the wreck occurred in the intersection and apparently was caused when the pick up truck turned left onto Western Drive in front of the northbound dump truck.

He said that the driver of the pickup was air lifted by Guardian Angel 3 to John C. Lincoln Hospital in Phoenix. The driver of the dump truck was treated at Verde Valley Medical Center and released.

"The dump truck was northbound on 260 and the pickup was southbound on 260 and apparently attempted a left turn onto Western," Rosenberg said. "It appears that the pickup truck pulled in front of the dump truck and the driver, attemping, to avoid a collision rolled it over on the side of the road."

He said that the City of Cottonwood Public Works Department assisted in the clean up and Clarkdale police helped with traffic control.

Linda Coles is the owner of Quick Country Store, located on Western Drive. She said she saw the truck skidding.

"It sounded like a big crash," Coles said. "You couldn't help but hear it."

Fred Patterson, an employee of the store, saw the dump truck burning and went to the scene with a fire extinguisher.

"All I heard was a loud boom ... I looked up and saw this cloud of dust," Patterson said.

"I went out there, took a fire extinguisher and put the fire out."

Coles added that there used to be more wrecks at the intersection until the implementation of traffic signals.

"There are not as many [accidents] as there were before they put the lights in," Coles said.

DPS spokesperson said the wreck is under investigation.

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