Crash victim remains critical
PRESCOTT - Saturday's head-on accident between a Toyota SUV and a motorcycle on Highway 89 left the motorcycle driver with critical injuries, and as of Monday, his condition appears to remain the same, according to the Department of Public Safety.
The crash at milepost 305 caused a brief closure of the highway, DPS officer Scott Mayne said on Monday.
The 33-year-old motorcyclist from Carefree, whose name was unavailable on Monday, was riding alone when he crossed left of center into oncoming traffic and struck the SUV head-on, Mayne said. The SUV then ran over the motorcyclist, he said.
The victim suffered fractures to his head, right chest and lower extremities, Prescott Fire Department spokesman Jeff Knotek said.
He went into cardiac arrest, but paramedics were able to resuscitate him, he said. Paramedics took the rider to Yavapai Regional Medical Center. From there, Native Air flew him to Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix, Mayer said.
The SUV driver did not suffer any injuries, he said.
Although it appears the motorcycle driver caused the accident, 40 percent of motorcycle crashes in Arizona occur when other motorists fail to notice a rider, according to AAA Arizona.
To avoid such accidents drivers must look out for motorcycles when they turn left or change lanes and keep a reasonable distance from them. They always should check mirrors and blind spots and signal when changing lanes or merging with traffic.
Potholes and debris on the road that motorists often ignore could be dangerous for motorcycle riders as well as items that come off of vehicles such as ladders and unsecured construction tools, he said.
Mayne said motorcyclists should wear proper safety gear, particularly a helmet.
Over the past decade, the number of fatal crashes involving motorcyclists increased 115 percent, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The total number of fatalities in 2005 increased to 4,553, which is a jump of 545 from the previous year, according to the NHTSA.
While motorcycle accidents account for about two percent of all vehicle crashes in Arizona, 150 people died and 2,645 suffered injuries in 2005, a 27 percent increase from 2004 and a 50 percent increase from 2001, according to AAA Arizona.
May is National Motorcycle Safety and Awareness Month.
Reporter Doug Cook contributed to this story.
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