Another collision on Highway 191 North hospitalizes occupants

Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald: Two occupants were flown from the scene in helicopters like the one pictured after being in a collision on “The Stretch” portion of U.S. Highway 191 North on Friday afternoon.

By Jon Johnson

GRAHAM/GREENLEE COUNTIES – “The Stretch” of a long straightaway on U.S. Highway 191 North between U.S. Highway 70 and the Black Hills has had yet another collision.

The collision took place around 2 p.m. and the Safford Fire Department was dispatched to extricate occupants of two different vehicles, which were located roughly 75 to 100 yards apart from each other.

One of the vehicles had damage to its side to suggest perhaps a glancing blow. The sole occupant of that vehicle was airlifted from the scene.

Another helicopter arrived later and airlifted an occupant from the other vehicle. The other vehicle also had multiple other occupants transported by two ground ambulances to Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center. The ambulances were guided through a red light at the intersection of 20th Avenue and 8th Street by a Graham County Sheriff’s Office patrol vehicle, with all three vehicles having lights and sirens activated through the intersection.

The collision was in the same area as a double fatality head-on collision that occurred early Tuesday evening.

Tuesday’s tragic, head-on collision took the life of Britton Paul David Shuck, 28, of Morenci, and Jaimee Marie Rodriguez, 20, of Duncan/York, while the occupants of a third vehicle were unscathed.

According to a report from the Arizona Department of Public Safety, Shuck was southbound in a black, 2010 Chevy HHR when – for an unknown reason – he crossed the centerline. 

When doing so, Shuck’s vehicle struck the mirror of a northbound, white, 2016 Chevy Malibu driven by Margaret G. Monjaras, 68, with passenger Melissa Renae Monjaras, 32, both of Clifton. Both women in the Malibu were uninjured in the glancing blow. 

Shuck’s Chevy then continued into the northbound lane and collided head-on with Rodriguez’s red, 2019 Chevy Cruise. Why Shuck’s vehicle drifted into oncoming traffic is still under investigation. Shuck and Rodriguez were the only occupants of their vehicles.