Woman investigated for DUI after crashing UTV in Gila River

SAR called out for swift water rescue

By Jon Johnson

jonjohnsonnews@gmail.com

GRAHAM COUNTY – A woman was rescued from the Gila River on Tuesday, Feb. 19, after rolling her UTV into the swift-moving current. The woman, identified as Jennifer Lynn Talley, 44, was subsequently investigated for DUI.

According to a Graham County Sheriff’s Office report, deputies were dispatched at about 7:23 p.m. to the Gila River near the Reay Lane Bridge regarding a vehicle crash. Upon arrival, a deputy met a man who advised his aunt and brother were traveling in a side-by-side UTV when his aunt attempted to turn the UTV near the edge of the river’s south bank and the vehicle went into the water. The man said the UTV rolled twice before stopping on some brush.

The male passenger was able to walk back to the south bank but the female driver, later identified as Talley, was still stuck in the river with the UTV on the northern side. The passenger gave the same account of how the crash happened and said his aunt was attempting to go around his brother’s Jeep when they went into the water.   

Graham County Search and Rescue was initially called out to the scene but a deputy and sergeant managed to reach Talley and walk out of the river. Talley advised she wasn’t injured but was just wet and cold. At that time, the deputy noticed Talley appeared to be under the influence of alcohol. 

Talley was taken by a Sheriff’s Office vehicle to meet with paramedics, who then transported her to Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center for further examination. 

At the hospital, Talley gave the same account of how the crash happened and advised that she had drunk “about a six-pack” of beer prior to driving the UTV. She also advised that she did not have a current driver’s license because it was still suspended from a DUI she received in June 2018.

A phlebotomist took blood samples from Talley at the hospital, and the deputy submitted it for testing purposes with the Arizona Department of Public Safety’s Crime Lab. Charges are pending lab test analysis and review by the Graham County Attorney’s Office. 

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