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Deadly rollover on I-17 closes freeway

8/26/2015

NEW RIVER – The southbound I-17 was closed in New River on Sunday night after a deadly rollover crash.

The crash occurred at about 8:15 p.m. on Aug. 23, near the New River exit.

“Vehicle one was southbound crossing the New River Road overpass when the driver observed a coyote run across the road,” said Trooper Tim Case of the Arizona Department of Public Safety. “The driver took evasive action to avoid the coyote and lost control of the vehicle, which ultimately rolled several times, ejecting the unrestrained rear seat passenger.”

Case noted that the driver and front seat passenger were both wearing their seat belts. They sustained minor injuries and were treated and released at HonorHealth Deer Valley Medical Center. The rear seat passenger who was not wearing a seat belt did not survive the crash; she was pronounced dead at HonorHealth John C. Lincoln Medical Center later that night.

According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, the I-17 was closed in that area immediately after the crash; drivers used the New River exit and on-ramps to go around the scene. Traffic backed up for over two miles. Both traffic lanes reopened later that night.

This crash offers a tragic reminder of the importance of wearing a seat belt so that you’re protected in the case of an accident. Arizona DPS strongly encourages everyone to wear seat belts. In the online Seat Belt Safety section on azdps.gov, Arizona DPS notes that traffic-related injuries are the leading cause of all injury deaths in the country.

“Failure to buckle up contributes to more fatalities than any other single traffic safety-related behavior,” DPS states in the Seat Belt Safety release.

AZ DPS calls seat belts “the most effective safety devices in vehicles today, estimated to save 9,500 lives each year. If 90 percent of Americans buckle up, we will prevent more than 5,500 deaths and 132,000 injuries annually.”

Read the full AZ DPS article on the importance of wearing a seat belt – every time, no exceptions – at www.azdps.gov/information/Seat_Belts.