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June 2006 4x4 Whoops!

Posted in Whoops on June 1, 2006
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Whoops!, 4-Wheel & Off-Road
6420 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90048-5515
Fax 323.782.2704

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Some buddies and I were out wheeling in the Florence Junction, Arizona, area. There had been a lot of rain so there were a lot of washouts on the roads. My friend was in front as we negotiated some switchbacks to get us up over the mountain and out of the canyon. I got a little too close to the edge and the road caved away under my front left tire. I slammed it into reverse to try and get out of it but it was too late. I rolled 4 1/2 times down the mountain, coming to rest upside down. I was wearing my seatbelt but the truck didn't have a cage. I was very lucky and was able to crawl out of the wreckage, suffering only minor cuts and bruises. The truck isn't a total loss...somehow the frame, drivetrain, and so on survived unscathed. My plans are to put a new body on it...or maybe a truck cab and flatbed.

But the story gets better. Because of the location of the final resting place we had to just leave the truck there for the time being. So my buddy used a black grease pencil to write "All OK" and the date on the side of the truck so no one would think I had been smashed to bits. I then hopped in with my buddies (also in a Bronco) and started to ride out. As we crested the top of the mountain we stopped to check out the nasty hill we had to descend to get out. This is when we heard a woman screaming. We crested the hill to find a hysterical woman standing beside her husband who was lying on the ground bleeding profusely. They were out riding ATVs when the guy's quad flipped over on top of him and he took a brake lever to the chin. We were in a very remote location and cell service was nonexistent, so we put the man in the truck. We headed back to the main road and left our other friend there with the wife to have them ride out on the quads. We drove for almost two hours before getting close enough to get cell service and call for Medi-vac. By this time the man had bloodsoaked everything we could find including my shirt, a towel, and a full roll of shop towels. He was in and out of consciousness and we were getting really scared that he wouldn't make it. Finally, after two attempted helicopter landings (the first one was too afraid to land on the small mountaintop) and about five hours, the man made it to the hospital where he was treated. I spoke to the man's wife a few days later and she said he had some nerve damage in his face from the cut and several broken ribs.

Oh yeah, what about my Bronco? Since we had blocked the main trail out of the area, by the time the man was airlifted out, there were no less than 100 people in trucks, Jeeps, quads, and motorcycles that were stranded on the trail in this massive off-road traffic jam. I met a guy there who owns a local off-road shop and he asked me how I was going to get my Bronco out of there. I had no idea how I was going to accomplish this so he gave me his card and told me to call him in a few days and he would see what he could do. Well, by the end of the week he had arranged no less than 15 trucks of Arizona Virtual Jeep Club ( members to help with the recovery and cleanup. We all went back out the next weekend and winched the Bronco back on its wheels, aired up the tires, and got it back up to the road (about 250 feet). By the time we got it to the top it had begun to rain and both of the fullsize rigs had broken something on the way in so we had to leave the poor smashed Bronco out there by itself for another week. We went back the next week with my good friends at www.fullsize to tow it out and trailer it home.
Eric Crist, Arizona

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