A green, Can-Am Commander similar to this one rolled over in Solomon on Thanksgiving. The crash sent four occupants to the hospital after the UTV struck a concrete irrigation ditch.
By Jon Johnson
SOLOMON – Three adults (two males and one female) and one juvenile male were injured during the rollover of a side-by-side UTV in Solomon on Thursday, Nov. 22. Speed and an unfamiliarity with the terrain were listed as the cause of the crash.
A Graham County Sheriff’s Office deputy was dispatched at about 12:21 p.m. to a farm road near the area of the Solomon Cemetery Road regarding a rollover involving a green, 2018 Can-Am Commander. Upon arrival, the deputy located the UTV sitting on its top just south of a concrete irrigation ditch and noted it had severe front-end damage.
The driver of the UTV, Daniel Cole Claridge, advised he was suffering from chest pain and was having difficulty breathing. Claridge did not show any signs of impairment at the scene and he and his three passengers were all transported by ground ambulance to Mount Graham Regional Medical Center (MGRMC) for treatment.
According to Claridge’s first passenger, Claridge was driving on the west side of the main canal and did not see an irrigation ditch until it was too late. He said Claridge slammed on the brakes but the UTV went across the ditch and struck the embankment on the other side. The passenger also stated that none of the occupants were wearing helmets or seatbelts.
The female passenger suffered a large laceration to her forehead and a large open wound to her left ankle, according to the Sheriff’s Office report. She corroborated that Claridge was driving the UTV.
The juvenile passenger was not interviewed due to the possibility that he had suffered a broken jaw.
After conducting interviews and examining the evidence at the scene, the deputy concluded that the crash took place due to driver error by traveling too fast on an unfamiliar road. However, since the crash took place on private property no citations were issued.