Tue, Oct. 15

Fatal wreck details still unclear

As investigators dig deeper into Thursday's fatal accident on Beaverhead Flats Road near Cornville, it appears that many initial assumptions may not be the case.

Two vehicles collided almost head-on on the rural road early at 2:30 a.m. Thursday.

The Yavapai County Sheriff's Office has now identified the woman killed as Annette Rachel Rouse, 44, of Sedona. Rouse was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident, one and a half miles from Cornville Road. Robert McLean, 36, is also from the Village of Oak Creek. McLean was airlifted to Flagstaff Medical Center where he underwent surgery for injuries after he was extricated from the wreckage.

The Sheriff's Office now says it does not yet know if alcohol was a factor in the collision. The preliminary report says officers smelled alcohol at the accident scene. Whether either driver had consumed enough to affect their driving is unclear. Alcohol tests have been conducted on both Rouse and McLean, according to Sheriff's spokeswoman Susan Quayle.

Sheriff's investigators initially believed that the male surviving driver crossed the centerline striking the vehicle driven by Rouse. Now there is suspicion Rouse could have crossed the centerline. The position of the vehicles as they finally rested made it appear that McLean drove out of his lane, but the wreckage may have spun in the road after the collision, Quayle says. A so-called "crush" test is planned to clarify the point of impact.

The woman was first reported as a Las Vegas resident, but is now known to have lived in Arizona for several years, even though her parents are Las Vegas residents.

Finally, the sheriff's office says they now believe the woman was not pregnant, as first assumed by paramedics on the scene. An autopsy was being conducted Friday.

Quayle says additional information about the fatal wreck will be released when it becomes available.

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