By Jon Johnson. From Eastern Arizona Courier. Originally posted: January 24, 2016. Original Article.


A 7-year-old girl was airlifted to Banner-University Medical Center Tucson Campus after her skull was fractured in a vehicle collision with a tractor Friday night.

The collision between an eastbound John Deere tractor with an attached multi-shank ripper and an eastbound 2008 black Chevrolet Impala occurred at about 7:15 p.m. at milepost 311.3 of U.S. Highway 70, roughly one mile west of the intersection with Eden Road west of Pima. The collision forced the highway to be closed for nearly two hours, fully opening up at about 9:03 p.m.

According to a report from Arizona Department of Public Safety Sgt. Dan Long, the tractor was driving astraddle of the white shoulder lane, partially on the paved shoulder and partially in the eastbound lane when the Impala, driven by Stephanie Yates, 30, of Eagar, collided into the rear of the tractor’s shank ripper.

The Impala’s impact was centered on the leftmost ripper shank, which cut into the car up to the passenger compartment. The shank’s progress through the car was only derailed when the Impala struck the tractor’s rear tire, causing the Impala to be deflected away into the westbound lane facing west. The impact also caused the tractor to be pushed onto the dirt shoulder facing southeast.

After her door was pried open to release her, Yates was transported to the Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center by Southwest Ambulance where she was treated for minor cuts and abrasions and released. Her 7-year-old daughter was in the rear of the car and was airlifted at the scene by AirEvac-21 to UMC for treatment of a frontal skull fracture. She was listed as being in stable condition as she was flown from the scene, according to Long.

The driver of the tractor, Aldo Alvarado, 29, of Pima, was privately driven to MGRMC and examined but did not report being injured.

Long said the tractor had lights on its rear fenders along with a flashing amber light to the rear and two white work lights that illuminated the ripper attachment. It also had a triangle reflector on its rear.

There were no signs that Yates attempted to brake before striking the tractor and there were no indications of impairment by either driver, according to Long. He added that the cause of the collision was still under investigation.

DPS had plenty of help at the scene as the Graham County Sheriff’s Office and Pima Police Department responded as well as the fire departments from Pima and Fort Thomas and the Arizona Department of Transportation.