Driver fatigue causes head-on crash on U.S. 70 near Solomon

A head-on collision on U.S. Highway 70 near Solomon was the result of driver fatigue.

By Jon Johnson

SOLOMON – A severe head-on crash between a passenger car and a minivan on U.S. Highway 70 in the early morning hours of Tuesday, June 12 was caused due to driver fatigue.

According to a report from the Arizona Department of Public Safety, Michael Earl Medina, 30, of Safford, was heading home from a night shift at the Morenci mine and was westbound on U.S. Highway 70 at about 6 a.m. when he fell asleep at the wheel.

As Medina’s gray, 2007 Toyota Corolla drifted into the oncoming lane, an eastbound white, 2006 Dodge Caravan driven by Ruben A. Miranda, 64, of Solomon, attempted to evade a collision by moving over onto the southern shoulder.

Medina continued to drift, however, and entered the shoulder as well. At that point, Miranda then again attempted to avoid the collision by turning back into the eastbound lane. Rumble strips along the shoulder might have awakened Medina, who then suddenly corrected his Toyota back into the eastbound lane as well and the two vehicles struck head-on, with Medina’s driver’s side striking Miranda’s passenger side. The impact of the collision knocked both vehicles over past the westbound lane into the northern shoulder. The version of events was taken by evidence at the scene and comment from Miranda and a witness who was traveling behind Medina. 

Medina was transported to the Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center (MGRMC) by Lifeline Ambulance and was then flown to Banner-University Medical Center Tucson for treatment of his injuries.

Miranda was taken by ambulance to MGRMC and was treated for a broken ankle and released, according to the DPS report.

Authorities encourage fatigued drivers to pull over to the shoulder of roads, turn off all lights and rest until they are safely alert enough to continue to their destinations.