Sat, May 25

Wrong way driver missing after crash

Department of Public Safety officers were looking for the driver of a pickup truck early Friday morning after a near head-on collision between the pickup and a commercial semi tractor-trailer rig on Interstate 17. The accident occurred between the Orme Road and State Route 169 about 2 a.m. But when the Highway Patrolman reached the crash site the pickup driver was nowhere to be found.

Camp Verde Fire District crews report that the vehicles suffered heavy damage and the semi driver was treated for non-life threatening injuries and taken to Yavapai Regional Medical Center.

Officers found the driver of the pickup hiding in a culvert after daybreak. The 48-year-old subject was charged with leaving the scene of an accident.

Cops chase van, capture 13 illegal aliens

A Yavapai Sheriff's deputy attempted to stop a red Ford mini-van just after midnight Thursday morning. The van was traveling north on Interstate17 at Camp Verde. The deputy said the van was weaving across traffic lanes while traveling much slower than the surrounding traffic.

The deputy first activated his overhead lights, then sounded his siren and used his spotlight to alert the driver, but the driver made no effort to stop and continued northbound. After requesting backup from area police units, the deputy used his public address system in yet another attempt to get the driver to pull over, once again without success.

Department of Public Safety Officers were notified and advised they would set "stop sticks" in the roadway ahead of the pursuit. The special sticks are designed to puncture tires, causing the slow release of air and a flat tire to get the driver to stop fleeing. About 25 miles into the pursuit, the driver hit the DPS "stop stick" and pulled over.

The driver was identified as 21-year-old Ricardo Bautista. He was found to be unlicensed and an illegal alien. The van, registered in South Carolina, contained 12 more illegal aliens. Deputies contacted Immigration and Customs Enforcement Officials and got authorization to detain the passengers. Bautista was arrested for one count of unlawful flight and booked at the Camp Verde Jail. He was unable to explain why he did not stop but said he was driving the passengers to meet a contact in Flagstaff.

Cell phone used to locate injured rider

An ATV rider suffered an accident on his small four-wheeler Thursday afternoon, but it took a little work for search crews to locate the injured man and then reach him. Sedona Fire Spokesman Gary Johnson says the man was found using the GPS-locating capabilities now offered by cellular service.

In order to make the system work, three parts have to be in play: a capable cell phone, a supportive phone carrier and a 911 center that understands the system. Johnson says all three components were in play and the man's latitude and longitude were determined to allow searchers to find him.

Johnson says the system is able to triangulate on a target more closely and accurately if the terrain is flatter without a lot of hills and canyons. That is not always the case in the Sedona area.

The subject with a head injury was found in difficult terrain off Beaverhead Flats Road, so it took two helicopters to rescue him.

A medical helicopter first landed nearby to allow medical personal hike in to reach the man and stabilize his wounds and condition. Then a second helicopter, a DPS Ranger with a crew trained for tricky rope extractions, was brought in to lift the man out of the rugged terrain and airlift him to Flagstaff Medical Center.