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Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Crashes, deaths increase on U.S. 93 in Arizona to Las Vegas

Credit: KTNV Channel 13 Las Vegas
Duration: 05:21s 0 shares 2 views
Crashes, deaths increase on U.S. 93 in Arizona to Las Vegas
Crashes, deaths increase on U.S. 93 in Arizona to Las Vegas

The number of crashes and deaths is increasing on U.S. 93 in Arizona towards Las Vegas.

Scripps Reporter Melissa Blasius has the story.

NEW TONIGHT...IT’S THE MAIN TRAVEL ROUTEBETWEEN.... LAS VEGAS ANDPHOENIX...AND NOW....TRAFFIC OFFICIALS... ARECALLING IT..... A "DEADLY GAMBLEFOR DRIVERS".SCRIPPS REPORTER...MELISSABLASIUS... DIGS INTO WHAT MAKESTHIS ROAD SO DANGEROUS.THE LIGHTS AND SOUNDS OF LASVEGAS... JUST A 5 HOURS DRIVEFROM PHOENIX... UP US-93... BUTTOO OFTEN... THE TRIP ENDS...WITH THESE LIGHTS... AND SOUNDS.I Could hear the screamingON APRIL 30TH... TRAVELERSBECAME RESCUERS... PULLING DPSTROOPER CASEY REINHARDT.

FROMHIS BURNING CRUISER.i was able to grab onto the tophalf of the door and pulled itopen Enough to where I got aholdof the trooper we were fallingall over the place just tryingTo drag him and get him awayMULTIPLE CARS HAD CRASHED NEARMILE MARKER 174... MILES FROMEVEN THE SMALLEST TOWN... APLACE WHERE CELL PHONES ANDPOLICE RADIOS HAVE NO SERVICE.the good Samaritans had to driveaway from the scene to make aphone call to let the DPSdispatchers that they had atrooper that was down and neededhelp.

CONGRESS FIREFIGHTERS ARRIVEDTO TRIAGE SEVEN VICTIMS. THEY’VEHANDLED MASS CASUALTIES ON THISHIGHWAY BEFORE.:we start working on the severelyinjured patients are the onesthat we know are going to makeit.

And that’s all we can do.:literally, you’re making lifeand death decisions.Pretty much.

CROSSES ALONG U-S 93... SHOWWHERE PEOPLE HAVE DIED OVER THEYEARS... VALLEY UPS DRIVERARTHUR PEREZ.

VERONICA WOOD..WHO NEVER MADE IT HOME TOGOODYEAR.

AND LAST YEAR... YOUNGBROTHERS JACKSON AND CAMERONCLARK ... WERE BOTH KILLED... ONA TRIP TO VISIT RELATIVES.

THEABC15 INVESTIGATORS... FOCUSEDON THIS THIS STRETCH...FROMWICKENBURG TO WICKIEUP A79-MILES... INCLUDING 34 MILESOF TWO-LANE ROAD SEEN HERE INRED.

CONGRESS’S FIRE CHIEF SAYSTHERE ARE TOO MANY IMPATIENTDRIVERS... AND RISKY PASSING..:I can tell you that most of ourwrecks we go on after or withina mile of a passing zone.THERE WERE SEVERAL YEARS OFDECLINING FATALITIES IN THISAREA... ACCORDING TO DATA FROMDPS AND ADOT.

THEN..

A SHARPINCREASE IN 2020... 9 PEOPLEDIED.

THAT’S DESPITE ADOTIMPROVEMENT PROJECTS...INCLUDING WIDENING MANY MILES..FROM 2 LANES TO A DIVIDED 4 LANEHIGHWAY.When it was two lanes, you know,it’s more, more head-oncollisions we are seeing.

Nowit’s rollovers.THE ROADS NICER, IT’S WIDER,IT’S STRAIGHTER.

SPEEDS HAVEINCREASED, CRASH DATA SHOWSBETWEEN WIKENBURG TO WIKIEUP.THERE WERE 181 TOTAL CRASHES...IN 2015.

THAT GREW NEARLY 40PERCENT IN 4 YEARS TO 248CRASHES IN 2019.every road that we build ormaintain is done to federalsafety standards.unfortunately, a lot of peopledrive it with without a lot ofregard for their personal safetyor the safety of others.

Andthat’s why you see thesehorrific crashes.NEARLY 5 CRASHES A WEEK.

SO...WHAT ARE THE ODDS?

ROUGHLY ONECRASH FOR EVERY 15-THOUSAND CARSTHAT PASS THROUGH.

IN AREAS...SO REMOTE... ONE IS LITERALLYCALLED NOTHING.

STANDUP MELISSAIF YOU CRASH NEAR NOTHING... THECLOSEST HELP... FROM FIREFIGHTEROR PARAMEDICS IS HERE INBAGDAD... A NEARLY A 30 MINUTEDRIVE DOWN A WINDY STATEHIGHWAY.

SOin a perfect world, we’ve gotambulances that are within 10minutes, no matter where you’reat.

That’s not realistic.

Youknow, this is rural Arizona.:are there are literally peopleon us 93 who die waiting forhelp.Yes, there isTHE COMBINATION OF THE NUMBEROF CRASHES AND LONG AVERAGE WAITTIMES FOR AN AMBULANCE... LEDCONSUMER WEBSITE VALUE PENGUINTO NAME US 93 THE MOST DANGEROUSHIGHWAY IN AMERICA IN 2018.DESPITE THAT DISTINCTION....ANDINCREASES IN CRASHES ANDDEATHS..

TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT...CRIMINAL AND CIVIL TRAFFICTICKETS... WERE DOWNSIGNIFICANTLY IN 2020... THAT’SACCORDING TO AN ABC15 ANALYSISOF FILINGS IN THE RURAL YAVAPAICOUNTY COURT... THAT COVERS MOSTOF THIS STRETCH OF US93.It’s not acceptable.

We, as astate, need to provide bettercustomer service.

We need totake care of our citizensARIZONA STATE TROOPERSASSOCIATION PRESIDENT JEFFHAWKINS SAYS STAFFING IS SO LOWIN WICKENBURG... THAT THERE’SUSUALLY JUST ONE TROOPER ONPATROL... AND FREQUENTLY NOTROOPERS AFTER 1 A.M.

HAWKINS ISLOBBYING THE LEGISLATURE AND THEGOVERNOR FOR MORE TROOPER PAY TOHELP WITH RECRUITING... ANDUPGRADES TO RADIO DISPATCH INTHE AREA... SO FIRST RESPONDERSDON’T HAVE COMMUNICATION DEADSPOTS.we’ll find out when theyreleased their budget, whetheror not they’re concerned aboutour roadways in ArizonaDPS OFFICIALS DECLINED ON-CAMERAINTERVIEWS.

IN AN EMAIL, THEYSAID SLOWING DOWN DRIVERS ONUS-93 IS A PRIORITY AND THEREWAS A TARGET SPEED ENFORCEMENTDETAIL IN MARCH.

THAT WAS ONEBEFORE THEIR TROOPER WAS HIT...people lost their lives andpeople’s lives are changedforever and it just didn’t needto happen.

FOR NOW... FIRST RESPONDERSARE URGING DRIVERS TO HELP LOWERTHE STAKES.

OBEY THE SPEEDLIMIT... WAIT FOR PASSINGLANES... AND STOP IF DROWSY...DON’T MAKE THE DRIVE TO LAS

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