By Linda Kor
Two separate collisions on Interstate 40 east of Holbrook on Friday, Aug. 30, sent two people to Flagstaff Medical Center, where they were in critical condition.
At 1:19 p.m. on Friday, the Department of Public Safety was advised that a one-vehicle accident had occurred on eastbound I-40 at milepost 303, approximately 17 miles east of Holbrook near the Adamana exit. The collision occurred when the driver of the vehicle, Patricia Thompson, 60, of Holbrook, struck a concrete barrier on the south side of the freeway. A tow truck and DPS arrived on scene to investigate and clear the disabled vehicle.
A short while later on the same road 100 yards west of the original collision, an 18-wheeler semi-truck veered off of the roadway to the south side of the freeway, striking a concrete barrier and a van. A box truck swerved to miss the vehicles and struck Thompson’s vehicle, as well as the tow truck. Thompson, who was standing outside her vehicle, was struck by it, throwing her from the scene. Thompson’s vehicle continued to travel and came to final rest on top of her, leaving her critically injured.
The driver of the van, Robert Althouse, 63, of Santa Fe, N.M., also sustained critical injuries. According to DPS, he was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the collision. The driver of the 18-wheeler sustained minor injuries and was treated on scene.
The two critically injured passengers were driven from the scene by ambulance due to inclement weather; they were transported to the Holbrook airport, where they were flown out by two Guardian Air medical helicopters to FMC.
I-40 was closed in both directions for several hours as officials dealt with the collisions and clean up.
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By Linda Kor