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Wed, Nov. 13

Chino woman dies in crash, man paralyzed

An ill-timed sneeze may have caused a traffic accident that killed a motorcycle passenger, Debbie Gambetta, 42, of Chino Valley at the intersection of Highway 89 and Willow Creek Road Thursday night.

Just after 8:30 p.m. a Chino Valley man was driving his sport utility vehicle (SUV) north on the highway behind a motorcycle. The driver said he started sneezing as he approached the intersection and when the fit ended, he had hit the motorcycle.

Emergency personnel took the woman to Yavapai Regional Medical Center, where doctors pronounced her dead. Another team flew the man who was driving the bike, Steven Gambetta, 45, to a Phoenix hospital with critical injuries. He just regained consciousness Sunday, but he is paralyzed.

The driver of the SUV was not injured.

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