Two men riding in the same car died resulting from a head-on crash with a large service truck around 3 p.m. Monday, June 25, on U.S. 191 between Clifton and Morenci near what is known locally as the horseshoe curve.
It is often a very busy highway. An estimated 9,000 vehicles per day pass through Clifton, most of which are enroute to and from the Morenci copper mine, four miles away.
Manny Aguilar, 21, Morenci, the driver of a 2007 Dodge Charger, was pronounced dead at the Gila Health Resources clinic where he was taken by the Greenlee Ambulance Service. It is he believed Aguilar recently moved from Tucson to Morenci to work at the copper mine.
His passenger, Jacob Samorando, 23, Tucson, was stablized at the scene and then flown by Air Evac 21 to Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center for possible transfer to a Tucson hospital. However, he died at the Safford hospital.
Donald Wilson, Duncan, 32, the driver of a 2008 International six-wheel service truck, was not injured. The truck is registered to Merdian Equipment Co., Phoenix and the Charger to Raul Samorano, Tucson.
According to a report by Arizona Department of Public Safety officer Eric McSpadden, The Charger was headed northbuond toward Morenci when it drifted into a southbound lane and struck the truck almost head-on. It is unknown why the Charger swung into the lane of oncoming traffic.
When the Charger and truck collided the car spun 180 degrees before coming to a stop. The truck slammed into guard rails along the roadside, which kept it from plunging into Chase Creek. Wilson was able to straighten the truck's direction before coming to a halt on the highway.
During the evening DPS officers contacted the Samorano and Aguilar families and advised them of the deaths.
The Clifton and Morenci fire departments responded to the crash scene to provide any needed assistance.
The Greenlee and Graham counties coroners' offices are involved in followup examinations and Vining Funeral Home of Safford took care the crash victims' remain. Waters' Towing of Duncan removed the Charger from the scene and Nuttall's Towing of Safford removed the large truck.