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Wed, Feb. 26

Paulden woman OK after driving pickup into flooded area of Big Chino Wash

It took an hour for a Technical Rescue Team to rescue a Paulden woman who drove her pickup into 3- to 4-foot-deep water early Friday morning on a private road in the Big Chino Wash south of Paulden.

Chino Valley Fire District Battalion Chief Jack Miller said his department received a call at 8:10 a.m. about a woman who had crawled out of her vehicle and onto its roof after becoming stranded.

The 15-member regional Technical Rescue Team, composed of Chino Valley, Prescott and Central Yavapai Fire District firefighters, paddled over to the woman in a raft and plucked her off the pickup without any problems.

Miller said the victim lived about a mile away from the incident and was on her way home.

No signs warned motorists not to cross the high water on the roadway because it is private. Therefore, Arizona's so-called "Stupid Motorist Law" does not apply in this case. The law says that any motorist who drives around barricades to enter a flooded stretch of public roadway may have to pay for his or her rescue.

"The lady wasn't hurt at all," Miller said. "The water was probably 5-feet deep up on past her. We had her on dry ground at about 9:15 a.m. "

A heavy rainstorm overnight Thursday flooded parts of this area north of Chino Valley and west of Highway 89.

In addition, the Department of Public Safety reported that heavy rains on 89, between mileposts 300 and 310, were causing numerous rockslides. Some debris came out onto the highway, but DPS did not report any major accidents. Arizona Department of Transportation officials were on-scene to remove what hit the road.

As for the woman in Friday morning's incident, Miller said she was driving westbound on Sweetwater, a private road close to where the Big Chino Wash and Walnut Creek come together, when she ran off into a hole.

Sweetwater, which is near the headwaters of the Verde River, runs west of 89 at milepost 336.5, about a quarter mile south of Paulden proper.

"There's usually people that get stuck out there," Miller said. "We always tell motorists not to cross anything that's flooded."

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