Two children flown to Tucson hospital after ejected from SUV in collision with cement truck

Woman causing disturbance at scene jailed

By Jon Johnson

SAFFORD – Two children were flown to Banner – University Medical Center Tucson (UMC) on Thursday morning after they were ejected from the SUV they were riding it when it collided with a cement truck at the intersection of U.S. Highway 191 and 8th Street.

While paramedics were assessing the injured parties, a woman not involved in the crash, identified as Darline Cleopatra Smith, 29, came upon the scene and began yelling at the medical personnel. As Smith reportedly attempted to grab a child, police intervened and she was taken into custody after a brief struggle. A small amount of marijuana and a pipe were later found in her possession.   

According to a Safford Police crash report, two adults in the SUV, Leonard Dwayne Darton, 25, and Delphina Marie Manuel, 32, both of Safford, were transported by paramedics with Lifeline Ambulance to Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center (MGRMC) for treatment of unspecified injuries. The children were also transported to MGRMC prior to being airlifted to UMC. Two other children who were in the SUV were uninjured and were relapsed at the scene to their grandmother. The driver of the cement truck was also uninjured. 

According to the police, the injured parties were eastbound on 8th Street just before 10 a.m. in a 2002 Chevrolet Tahoe when they went they attempted to cross the intersection with U.S. Highway 191 when a northbound cement truck struck the rear passenger side of the Tahoe. The driver of the SUV allegedly advised that she failed to see the cement truck because her view was blocked by a northbound commercial truck that had stopped at the railroad tracks.

The collision is under investigation by the Safford Police Department. 

The woman who had caused the disruption, Smith, was found to have warrants for possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia on one case and aggravated assault on a healthcare professional, disorderly conduct with a deadly weapon, possession of a weapon by a prohibited person and possession of drug paraphernalia on a second case. 

Contributed File Photo/Courtesy GCSO: Darline Smith, 29, was booked into the jail on her warrants and new charges after being disruptive at the crash scene.

The second case stemmed from an incident in the early morning hours of Dec. 30, 2018, when Smith – while allegedly under the influence of methamphetamine – threatened her sisters with two knives, cut her own hand on accident, asphyxiated herself with a police vehicle’s seatbelt and then bit a healthcare worker at the hospital. (See Gila Herald Woman arrested for disorderly conduct chokes self with police seatbelt then bites ER staff member – Jan. 4, 2019)

After being subdued Thursday, Smith was booked into the Graham County Adult Detention Facility on her warrants and additional charges of resisting arrest, interference with judicial proceedings, possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia.  

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