Bernardo Garcia Killed, GCSO Deputy Jeff McClure Injured in Accident
Payson, Arizona—Deputy Jeff McClure of the Gila County Sheriff’s Office was injured in an accident that occurred as he responded to the scene of a deadly truck accident. The first accident claimed the life of Bernardo Garcia after his semi-truck crashed on SR-260 near Christopher Creek Loop outside Payson.
The deadly truck accident prompted officers from Arizona Department of Public Safety and Gila County Sheriff's Office to arrive on scene. Emergency responders found a semi-truck 75 feet down an embankment. Investigators determined that the semi was westbound on a downhill curve when it left the north side of the highway. The truck crashed through a guardrail and slid about 75 feet down the embankment. Mr. Garcia, the driver of the semi-truck, died at the scene.
Deputy McClure was on the accident scene in his patrol vehicle when it was rear-ended by a driver identified as Brett Cramer, age 53 of Quartzsite. Deputy McClure was air evac'd to a hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. He was released on Wednesday. Cramer was arrested on charges of endangerment, criminal damage and aggravated assault.
The first accident was witnessed by Amy Dickey of Tempe. She and her family were eastbound on SR-260 when they saw Garcia’s truck coming down the hill. “The tires were smoking, and the brakes were clearly out. We could smell the brakes as we continued up the mountain for at least another ten minutes.” Dickey said, as Mr. Garcia came around the corner toward their vehicle, his front driver-side tire lifted off the ground. She said, “It is our belief that he did his best to keep his rig out of oncoming traffic. We all prayed for him. It appears he made a completely selfless decision to sacrifice himself and spare the lives of all the other drivers and travelers. He is a hero.”
Our hearts are with Mr. Garcia’s family and friends as they mourn his loss. We wish a speedy and full recovery for Deputy McClure.
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