Originally Published: August 24, 2006 4 a.m.
The rash of traffic deaths and injuries over the past week have emphasized a message worth repeating until more people get it: The area's congested highways don't forgive mistakes.
This past Sunday at Fain Road and Lakeshore Drive, an SUV tried to make an illegal U-turn from the Lakeshore onramp. Its driver and his passenger died after a truck hauling a travel trailer T-boned the SUV. Officers on scene said the truck driver, who suffered minor injuries, was not at fault.
Another T-bone crash took place Saturday when a Jeep Cherokee turned onto Highway 89 from Lake Valley Road in Prescott Valley and hit the passenger side of a car. Rescue workers had to cut an elderly woman out of the passenger side and airlift her to Phoenix. A ground ambulance took the man who was driving the car to Yavapai Regional Medical Center in Prescott Valley.
Then at 6:37 p.m. Monday, a Pontiac coupe that was headed north on Montezuma in Prescott veered left of the centerline and into southbound traffic. A Honda SUV broadsided the Pontiac then a southbound pickup truck hit the Honda.
The driver of the Pontiac got a helicopter ride to Good Samaritan Hospital in Phoenix, his passenger got a similar ride to Flagstaff Medical Center, and the driver of the Honda went to Yavapai Regional Medical Center for treatment of a broken ankle.
Early Wednesday, a street sweeper headed south on Highway 89 north of the Prescott airport, veered into the northbound lane and hit a semi-tanker rig. The street sweeper's driver suffered severe injuries and ended up on a helicopter to John C. Lincoln Hospital in Phoenix. The semi driver had less serious injuries, and the hospital released him. Luckily, partially spilled load of diesel fuel didn't catch fire.
When many fast-moving vehicles are on the roads close to each other, one mistake or impulsive move can exact a heavy price, not only from the person who made the mistake but also from other innocent parties.
Driving is becoming a full-time activity not something one does while eating, talking on a cell phone, adjusting the radio or CD player or reacting precipitously to a wrong turn.
If common sense doesn't reinforce the fact, tragic circumstances will.