SAFFORD — Following a single-vehicle rollover accident on Saturday, Jan. 4, the driver was flown out for further treatment of a broken arm.
A Graham County Sheriff’s Deputy was dispatched to Barney Lane, south of Solomon Road, regarding the accident at approximately 5:30 Saturday afternoon. The Safford Fire Department extricated the male driver from his vehicle, a blue 1978 Chevrolet pickup resting on its driver’s side on a small embankment west of the road.
The driver reportedly suffered a broken arm and numerous head lacerations, and was transported by Lifeline Ambulance to Mount Graham Regional Medical Center. He was later flown to an unspecified medical facility due to the broken arm.
One witness told deputies the southbound pickup began swerving, then veered off the road and rolled over. A second witness reported seeing a great deal of dust, but not the initial accident. That witness went to check on the driver’s condition, and the driver reportedly said “I’m good.”
According to the GCSO report, the driver’s side window of the pickup broke during the accident, leaving a pile of glass on the ground. The responding deputy also observed skid marks on the road and tracks in the dirt leading to the pickup’s resting place. Based on the witness statements and physical evidence, it was concluded that the driver failed to maintain control of his vehicle.
The Sheriff’s Office is investigating the possibility that alcohol may have been a factor in the crash. Several empty beer bottles and cans were reportedly found near the truck, and the odor of an alcoholic beverage from both the driver and his vehicle was reportedly noted.
The driver also allegedly admitted to a second deputy that he was drinking prior to the accident. The responding deputy was unable to obtain a statement from the driver, identified in the report as Narciso Chavez. Due to the alleged admission and evidence of alcohol at the scene, a search warrant for Chavez’s blood was obtained. The sample was sent to the DPS crime lab to check for blood alcohol content, and test results were pending.