GRAHAM COUNTY — A UTV driver was flown to a Tucson hospital after an accident last weekend, in which alcohol may have been involved, and which reportedly left him with a partially severed hand.
According to the Graham County Sheriff’s Office, the accident happened around 12:30 a.m. Sunday, July 7, near Runcorn Road, east of Cactus Flat. A deputy and a Safford Police officer responded to the scene.
The driver of a 2014 Polaris side-by-side, identified as Jace Kouts, was reportedly on the ground, inside the UTV’s roll cage, holding his left arm. The deputy stated in a report that Kouts’ left hand appeared to be partially amputated. Kouts was taken by ambulance to Mount Graham Regional Medical Center, then flown to Banner University Medical Center.
According to the report, Kouts was apparently heading west on Runcorn Road when he tried to make a right turn onto a side road. Two male passengers told the deputy the UTV flipped as he attempted to negotiate the turn. The report stated that speed appeared to be a factor, and drinking may have been as well.
Empty beer cans were reportedly found in and around the Polaris. According to the report, one passenger admitted drinking one beer, and the other said he was 18. Kouts allegedly showed signs of intoxication but declined to have his blood drawn. The deputy obtained an electronic warrant for a blood draw, which was conducted at UMC by the Tucson Police Department. Results of the blood draw were pending.
It was the second serious ATV accident for Kouts, who was badly injured in a 2013 crash in the San Jose area. He and a female passenger were also flown to UMC following that accident. The Sheriff’s Office reportedly identified alcohol as a factor in that case as well.