Alleged drunk driver caught on video causing collision

Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald

Passenger flown to Tucson hospital for head trauma

By Jon Johnson

jonjohnsonnews@gmail.com

SAFFORD – A two-car collision that led the at-fault driver’s passenger to be airlifted to a Tucson hospital for treatment was caught on a store’s surveillance camera. The driver of the at-fault vehicle is believed to have been intoxicated.

According to Safford Police reports, officers were dispatched to the area of Relation Street and 1st Avenue at about 5:12 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 15, regarding a two-vehicle collision. Upon arrival, officers located a lifted white 2017 Ford F-150 pickup truck facing southbound had struck a 2013 Chevrolet Cruze passenger car. It was apparent that the Cruze had entered oncoming traffic and was T-boned by the truck.

Video surveillance obtained from the Circle K showed the Cruze enter the roadway from the stop sign without yielding to traffic, causing the collision with the southbound truck.

The driver of the Cruze, William Rackley, and his passenger, Cory Herrera, had to be extricated from the car by the Safford Fire Department. While doing so, officers and fire personnel noticed signs of alcohol use, including empty Vodka shooter bottles and empty beer cans that were still cold. Rackley allegedly admitted to drinking two Vodka shooters prior to leaving Morenci for Safford but denied drinking any of the beer.

Rackley was transported to Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center for minor injuries. Herrera was initially transported to MGRMC as well but was then flown to Banner – University Medical Center Tucson for severe head trauma.

The driver of the Ford truck, Tyler Reed, advised he was southbound on 1st Avenue when the Chevy pulled out in front of him from Relation Street making a left turn and he could not avoid the collision. He was treated at MGRMC for minor injuries to his legs and arm, and his 8-year-old son who was a passenger was also released from the hospital with minor injuries.

After failing an initial DUI examination at the hospital, Rackley refused to consent to a blood draw. However, the investigating officer received a warrant for his blood and obtained a sample. The blood was then placed in evidence storage to be sent out for testing.

The officer requested the Graham County Attorney’s Office review the case and charge Rackley with DUI and aggravated assault, pending lab test analysis of his blood.

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