Teenage girls flown to Tucson hospital after being ejected in UTV rollover

Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald: A trip up to Frye Mesa Reservoir resulted in the hospitalization of three teenage girls after a UTV rollover.

One occupant’s finger amputated 

By Jon Johnson


GRAHAM COUNTY – At least two of the three teenage female occupants of a 2008 Polaris UTV were flown to Banner – University Medical Center Tucson (UMC) on April 20 after rolling the vehicle while traveling back to Thatcher from Frye Mesa Reservoir. It was the second UTV rollover on the same patch of road within the month.

According to a Graham County Sheriff’s Office report released May 14, the crash occurred roughly 3.6 miles west of Reay Lane and all three occupants, two 16-year-old girls and one 17-year-old girl, were thrown from the vehicle as it rolled. None of the occupants were wearing seatbelts or helmets, according to the report.

Deputies and first responders were dispatched to the scene at about 6:51 p.m. The 16-year-old driver was initially found unconscious but awoke while the deputy was there but prior to medical personnel’s arrival. She reportedly suffered a concussion as well as a laceration to her head and road rash and was airlifted from the scene to UMC, where she was treated and subsequently released.

The outside passenger suffered a concussion and lacerations to her right hand where she was holding onto the roll cage. After initially being taken to Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center (MGRMC), she was airlifted to UMC, where she had her pinkie amputated above the first knuckle, according to the report. The passenger’s mother allegedly told the deputy that her daughter also suffered an injury to her right shoulder where the tendons attach to the collarbone and that she may have to have a steel plate surgically inserted.

The middle passenger also suffered a concussion and road rash and was treated at MGRMC.

While at the scene, a glass marijuana pipe was found on the ground. Both passengers denied any marijuana use but one passenger allegedly admitted they drank a small amount of alcohol but that the driver did not indulge with them. The deputy’s efforts to retrieve blood from the driver while she was at UMC to test for possible alcohol use were not fruitful. The deputy reported that he did not smell any alcohol on any of the three teenagers.  

The parents of the driver (and registered owners of the UTV) arrived at the scene. The mother informed the deputy that the pipe was hers and that she had forgotten she left it in the vehicle’s glovebox. The mother produced her medical marijuana card and the deputy returned the pipe to her.

The UTV had minor damage to its roll cage and was removed from the scene by the driver’s father.