DUI suspected in a fiery crash at Three-Way Junction
It is suspected that the driver of a one-vehicle accident involved in a rollover at Three-Way Junction may be driving under the influence.
The incident took place around 10:30 am, Wednesday 9 January 2013 at the junction where U.S. 191 is met by State Routes 75 and 78. The vehicle burst into flames. After the crash, the U.S. 191 in Greenlee County was closed for investigation. No one got injured in the accident. The junction is usually busy with traffic from Duncan and Safford headed to and from the Freeport McMoran Morenci copper mine, about 14 miles from Three-Way.
Sgt. Dan Long of Arizona Department of Public Safety told that 41-year-old Raymond Sherrer of Tucson was driving the 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer which was burnt in the accident; he was initially taken into custody. Greenlee County Ambulance Service medics took a blood sample from Sherrer for DUI testing. After some time, he was released from custody and taken to Mt. Graham Hospital for treatment because he was complaining of back pain. Travis Curley of Farmington, N.M, and 20-year-old Anthony James Hale of Pinetop, passengers traveling with Sherrer, were able to escape from the SUV before it burst into flames. They were not injured in the crash.
At the Three-Way intersection, there are two directions which southbound vehicles can take, drive straight ahead towards Duncan or turn right and head for Safford. The four-door SUV was travelling south. According to Sgt. Dan Long, Sherrer was going to Safford. Instead of traveling in the right-hand lane towards Safford, he strayed into the Duncan-bound left lane passing a pickup truck and a tractor. He tried to drive back on to Safford-bound lane, but his car got out of control and due to high speed, the car started spinning clockwise. He then overcorrected to the left and sent the SUV into a counter clockwise spin.
The car came to rest after rolling once into the bar pit. Two eyewitnesses helped Sherrer and his two passengers get out of the SUV before it burst into flames. Dry weed and other vegetation were present all around the vehicle and due to this, the flames quickly started spreading around the accident spot.
The Arizona Department of Transportation personnel directed traffic and Greenlee County Sheriff’s deputies helped secure the scene. The Clifton Volunteer Fire Department reached immediately at the crash scene. The volunteer fire fighters helped in extinguishing the flames consuming the SUV and burning vegetation surrounding the vehicle. The road remained closed for 1 hour and it was reopened at 11:49, which is the only traffic link to Clifton and the Morenci copper mine.