Collisions rock Highway 70 east of Safford and in town

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: This vehicle (which appears to be a Nissan Sentra) suffered severe front-end damage during a collision on Highway 70 on Friday, east of Solomon.

By Jon Johnson

GRAHAM COUNTY – A couple of collisions on U.S. Highway 70 on Friday and Monday sent vehicular occupants to the hospital for short stays. 

On Friday, authorities were dispatched at about 5:24 p.m. to the area of U.S. Highway 70 and Gripe Road, which is just east of Solomon and west of San Jose. 

According to the Arizona Department of Public Safety, one vehicle was operated by an elderly female, and the other vehicle was occupied by a younger couple. All three sustained injuries, with two being transported to Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center for further treatment prior to being released. The DPS advised that its investigation into the crash is ongoing.  

According to an agency assist report from the Graham County Sheriff’s Office, the initial call advised of a male subject bleeding from his face. Deputies assisted with traffic control and they opened one lane of travel and would alternate every minute or so to keep traffic flowing during the clean-up. 

Paramedics from Lifeline Ambulance responded to the scene, and both vehicles were towed as well. Photos from the crash show what appears to be a Nissan Sentra with severe front-end damage and a Honda CRV with rear damage.  

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Paramedics from Lifeline Ambulance evaluate the injured while deputies keep the flow of traffic moving through the collision area.

Some commenters on a video posted on the Gila Herald’s Facebook page advised that the Honda was waiting to turn left onto Gripe Road when it was struck from behind. Other comments chimed in that it wasn’t the first of that type of collision for the area and that a turn lane is necessary to avoid similar collisions in the future.

Collision on Highway 70 and 8th Avenue  

On Monday, a silver 2020 Mitsubishi driven by Sherry Upshaw, of Bylas, was eastbound on U.S. Highway 70 in the turn lane at about 1:45 p.m. when she failed to yield to oncoming traffic while attempting to turn northbound onto 8th Avenue, according to a Safford Police report. 

The Mitsubishi collided with a westbound white 2015 Chevrolet sedan. Upshaw was evaluated at the scene and was transported by Lifeline Ambulance to MGRMC. The driver of the Chevy was also assessed by paramedics and was driven to the hospital by family members. 

According to the Safford Police report, video surveillance from nearby businesses that encompass the intersection showed the Mitsubishi to be the at-fault vehicle for the collision for failing to give right of way to the Chevy. 

Both drivers reportedly sustained minor injuries and both vehicles were towed from the scene.