Three Highway 68 fatalities draw concerns

Three fatal collisions during the past three weeks have focused attention on state Highway 68 through Golden Valley.

Eight people have been killed in the wrecks.

The Arizona Department of Transportation has concentrated on truck traffic on the other side of Union Pass from Golden Valley along the steep grade to Bullhead City.

However, ADOT has no plans for changing traffic conditions through Golden Valley, spokeswoman Joan Beckim said.

The speed limit through Golden Valley is 55 mph.

West and east of the unincorporated town, the speed limit along Highway 68 is 65 mph.

Arizona Department of Public Safety Sgt.

Tom Kern said officers patrol the 23-mile-long Highway 68 for 16 hours a day, as much as they do a 73-mile stretch of Interstate 40 through Mohave County.

"We're as visual as we can and we work the highway as much as we can," Kern said.

He said in two of the fatal wrecks, drivers failed to yield at stop signs, driving their vehicles onto the highway and colliding with a westbound or eastbound vehicle.

Kern added that in two of the collisions, none of the vehicles was speeding.

All the fatalities involved local residents who should know the highway, he said.

Kern added that statistically, collisions on the highway in the last three years have decreased.

Chance Anderson is owner of a Golden Valley auto body shop and towing business for six years and lives in So-Hi Estates.

"It amazes me, how it is all at once, so many accidents and so many fatalities," Anderson said.

"I think the weather has a lot to do with it, too, just the rainy and snowy conditions make driving worse.

I think that the people that are out there need to become more aware of the conditions, like that accident that was on Coyote Pass last week, with the truck and the trailer."

Anderson's towing company is usually called after the paramedics take patients away from an accident unless there is an emergency where the car needs to be moved immediately.

"This road is not a bad road," he said.

"It's a well-built, four-lane road.

I don't see the problem with the speed (limit), other than drivers that are speeding."

Tractor-trailer traffic through Golden Valley has increased because of a detour around Hoover Dam since the Sept.

11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

During the morning of Feb.

21, a collision killed four Kingman commuters riding a van to work in Laughlin.

The driver of a pickup, also heading westbound, was arrested and charged with manslaughter.

Several days later, a Golden Valley woman and her son were killed when their car entered the highway and was hit a tractor-trailer.

On Tuesday, a Golden Valley man and a Kingman man were killed when a sport utility vehicle entered the highway at Estrella Road and collided with a pickup heading eastbound.

Three other passengers were injured.