Alcohol may have been a contributing factor in a single-vehicle crash that sent the driver to a Tucson hospital for multiple injuries

Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald: Deputies believe alcohol was a contributing factor in a single-vehicle crash on Saturday, Jan. 4.

By Jon Johnson

GRAHAM COUNTY – Alcohol may have contributed to a single-vehicle crash that sent a man to the hospital with a broken arm and lacerations to his head on Saturday, Jan. 4. 

Narciso Rodela Chavez, 76, of Safford, was extricated from the wreckage of his blue, 1978 Chevrolet pickup truck by the Safford Fire Department. Afterward, he was taken to Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center before being flown to a Tucson hospital for a broken arm and other injuries to his head and ear, according to a Graham County Sheriff’s Office report. 

Chavez was reportedly southbound on Barney Lane at about 5:25 p.m. when he began swerving and suddenly left the roadway and flipped his truck. The crash occurred just south of Solomon Road.  

A witness who was traveling behind Chavez saw the crash and another person who stopped to assist also reported to law enforcement. 

According to another deputy, Chavez had a smell of an alcoholic beverage on him, admitted to drinking beer prior to the crash and had slurred speech. Additionally, empty beer bottles were also found at the scene. 

The investigating deputy determined the cause of the crash to be due to loss of control and possible intoxication. A warrant to obtain Chavez’s blood was approved and possible DUI charges are pending lab test results and review by prosecutors.   

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